When it comes to college tuition, there are a variety of things that you might want to know about the process and the ways in which colleges may use your tuition. This is especially true because college tuition is such a hot topic due to many people not being able to afford it. If you’ve ever wondered what your college tuition actually goes toward, here’s everything you need to know.
Where Your College Tuition Goes
First off is the actual numbers for where your college tuition goes. When you’re sending money to your college for your tuition, how are they using it? The best way to understand is to break down your tuition in terms of $100. This gives you an easier way to understand your college’s purchasing choices.
There are two categories of purchases with college tuition. The first category includes everything that is absolutely necessary for you to have an educative experience. This takes up $61.46 of the $100 on average, and colleges will split it up like this:
- $15.81 – Salaries
- $11.47 – General Instruction Expenses
- $9.61 – Auxiliary Student Enterprises
- $8.26 – Academic Support
- $8.15 – Institutional Support
- $4.75 – Student Services
- $3.41 – Grants and Financial Aid
The other $38.54 of your $100 of tuition will go toward “less necessary” elements of your academic experience. That includes all of these areas:
- $15.58 – Hospitals and Healthcare
- $11.66 – Research
- $6.25 – Other, Including Taxes and Liabilities
- $4.52 – Public Services
- $0.53 – Independent Operations
As you can see, your college tuition goes to a wide variety of areas, and it’s important to remember that it goes toward both academically necessary places and less academically necessary places. Both of them are important for a well-functioning college.
The Difference Between Public and Private College
What’s the difference between a public college and a private one? Well, depending on what you think is the most important, a significant difference is tuition.
Specifically, a public college is always going to be less expensive than a private college. In the 2019/2020 school year, the College Board reported average costs for yearly education, which includes tuition, fees, room, and board. A public school cost $21,950 per year, whereas a private school cost $49,870 per year.
There are certainly other differences between public and private college, and there are many good reasons why you might want to choose one over the other. However it’s crucial that you realize this is one of the reasons people might want to choose a public college over a private college.
Tuition as a Percentage of Income Expenses
Another interesting thing to pay attention to is how tuition functions as a percentage of income expenses. Tuition isn’t going to be able to cover a college’s operating costs by itself; public schools use grants, while private schools usually use endowments.
However, the amount of costs that tuition covers has changed dramatically over time. In 2000, tuition made up 29.2% of a public tuition’s revenue, but in 2018, that number had jumped to 46.6%. That’s a super dramatic change and an important one to keep an eye on.
Remember, tuition is a complicated topic. If you want to know more about tuition, there are many things you can do to learn. Whether you’re planning to pay for tuition soon or someone close to you is, tuition is one of the things you should pay attention to as early as possible.