Smarter Money Choices: Where Does Your College Spend Your Tuition?

Knowing a little bit more about how your college spends your tuition can sometimes at least make you feel better about spending money on that tuition. It’s a good idea to know this information, regardless of what you’re planning to use it for — it’s important information that can lead you to a better understanding of your college and your tuition. If you’ve ever wondered what your college tuition pays for, here’s what you need to know about it.

What Does Your College Tuition Actually Pay For?

Breaking Up $100 of Tuition

One way to understand tuition a little more effectively is to break up $100 of tuition. What this does specifically is help you understand tuition in terms of what percentage the college is putting toward each thing.

For example, when it comes to direct education costs, colleges typically spend around $61.46 of every $100. These costs include everything you need to really run a college, like these elements:

  • $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

There are also some elements of tuition that might not seem “direct,” especially not to every student, but that have really specific uses for a college. A college will spend $38.54 per year on these “non-direct” educative costs.

  • $15.58 – Hospitals and Healthcare
  • $11.66 – Research
  • $6.25 – Other, Including Taxes and Liabilities
  • $4.52 – Public Services
  • $0.53 – Independent Operations 

Private Vs Public Tuition

Private and public tuition are two elements of tuition that you should really pay a lot of attention to. Some of this is sheer numbers. The College Board reported that for the 2019/2020 school year, an average in-state public college is $21,950, including room and board, whereas an average private school is $49,870 — more than twice as expensive.

Public and private schools also spend their money differently. Public schools are more likely to spend money with salaries, hospitals, and institutional support, whereas private schools are more likely to spend money with student services, grants to students, and even research.

Trends in Tuition

What are some of the most interesting trends in tuition that may or may not continue? One is tuition as a percentage of income. In the year 2000, on average, public higher education universities received 29.9% of their income from tuition. However, in 2018, that number had moved to 46.6%.

This, of course, also corresponds to more than a 25% increase in the cost of college. More and more often, colleges are raising their tuition to try and keep themselves afloat. This is why some people are considering government intervention to help pay for college in general.

Conclusion

There are many different things to think about when you’re trying to make a decision regarding your upcoming university semester. While it might not be the only thing or even the most prominent thing, tuition is actually an important thing to factor in. With all this information, you can at least be informed. Remember, information is one of the most important things you can have, so it’s good to know as much as possible, regardless of the unique method through which you’re using it.

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