Some College Costs Rise Almost 13% Over Inflation

Post-graduate educational costs are rising rapidly across the United States. It’s one of the primary reasons why students are pulling out loans at record rates. The average price of tuition has outpaced inflation by almost 4% between 2016-2019, while the overall expense to attend classes (including room and board) has gone up by nearly 13% in some states.

The increases in college costs are not even across the country, which means some students are bearing a more substantial burden on this issue than others. A handful of states have also seen their college costs decrease since 2014.

What the Data Tells Us About College Costs

If you want to attend a college or university to obtain a degree, then Nevada is the place where you want to be. A price decrease of 5.37% happened in the state since 2015, representing savings that occur after inflation costs get calculated.

Arizona saw a decrease of 2.66% during this period. Florida (1.4%), Utah (1.25%), and New Jersey (0.70%), also saw significant downward pressure on this expense.

Montana had the largest price increase in the country in college costs, with expenses surging by 12.93%. Alaska also saw a significant hike with expenses outpacing inflation by over 9.3%. Maryland, Louisiana, and Massachusetts all saw their prices rise by over 7% more than inflation.

Why Is Montana Struggling with College Costs?

Montana’s economy is driven by oil and coal pricing. Since the rest of the world is moving away from these energy resources, the state needs to diversify its income to ensure stability. Lower prices hurt revenue projections, which meant less money being available for higher education.


Financial support for colleges and universities in Montana fell 3.1% in 2017-2018. That’s why the cost for on-campus room and board rose by over 18%.

Alaska struggles with the same issue. Funding for higher education dropped by almost 14% since 2015, forcing students to take on a more substantial share of the cost burden.

Nevada is going in the other direction because it has more of a diverse economy. Although gambling supplies a significant portion of funds, multiple sectors contribute to the health of the state. That’s allowed funding to remain relatively stable, which means the pressures on price keeps it down compared to the rest of the country.

With the exception of Montana and Alaska, the most stable pricing for college in the United States is in the West and Upper Midwest. If you’re a student who is thinking about a postgraduate degree, then it becomes easier to choose where you want to go.