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Cost of College the Year You Graduated High School

It’s well-known that the cost of college has been climbing, but college tuition increases at both public and private universities isn’t a recent trend. College costs have been increasing significantly for decades, making it increasingly harder to afford a higher education.

To see just how much the price tag on a postsecondary education has grown each year, GOBankingRates analyzed data on four-year institutions from the National Center for Education Statistics and the College Board, starting in 1964, the first year this data was collected. Note that the data from 1964-70 also includes the costs for two-year institutions. Costs are in current dollars.

From 1964 to 2019, the average annual cost of a four-year public school has soared by about 3,819%. The average annual cost of a four-year private school has jumped 2,998%. To better understand the rising cost of college, take a closer look at how much college cost throughout the years.

The Cost of College in 1964-65

  • Average cost of public school: $261
  • Average cost of private school: $1,160

See: You Won’t Believe How Much College Costs Have Jumped in the Past 50 Years

 

The Cost of College in 1965-66

  • Average cost of public school: $284
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 8.8%
  • Average cost of private school: $1,128
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 5.9%

The Cost of College in 1966-67

  • Average cost of public school: $310
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 9.2%
  • Average cost of private school: $1,309
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6.6%

The Cost of College in 1967-68

  • Average cost of public school: $317
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 2.3%
  • Average cost of private school: $1,386
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 5.9%

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The Cost of College in 1968-69

  • Average cost of public school: $329
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 3.8%
  • Average cost of private school: $1,487
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 7.3%

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The Cost of College in 1969-70

  • Average cost of public school: $367
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 11.6%
  • Average cost of private school: $1,639
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 10.2%

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The Cost of College in 1970-71

  • Average cost of public school: $405
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 10.4%
  • Average cost of private school: $1,792
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 9.3%

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The Cost of College in 1971-72

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $430
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 6.2%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $1,830
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 2.1%

Related: The Average American Needs $22,000 More to Afford College in Their State

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The Cost of College in 1972-73

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $500
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 16.3%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $1,950
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6.6%

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The Cost of College in 1973-74

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $510
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 2%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $2,050
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 5.1%

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The Cost of College in 1974-75

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $510
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 0%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $2,130
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.9%

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The Cost of College in 1975-76

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $540
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 5.9%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $2,290
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 7.5%

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The Cost of College in 1976-77

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $620
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 14.8%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $2,530
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 10.5%

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The Cost of College in 1977-78

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $660
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 6.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $2,700
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6.7%

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The Cost of College in 1978-79

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $690
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 4.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $2,960
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 9.6%

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The Cost of College in 1979-80

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $740
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 7.2%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $3,230
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 9.1%

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The Cost of College in 1980-81

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $800
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 8.1%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $3,620
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 12.1%

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The Cost of College in 1981-82

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $910
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 13.8%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $4,110
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 13.5%

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The Cost of College in 1982-83

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $1,030
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 13.2%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $4,640
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 12.9%

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The Cost of College in 1983-84

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $1,150
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 11.7%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $5,090
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 9.7%

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The Cost of College in 1984-85

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $1,230
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 7%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $5,560
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 9.2%

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The Cost of College in 1985-86

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $1,320
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 7.3%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $6,120
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 10.1%

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The Cost of College in 1986-87

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $1,410
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 6.8%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $6,660
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 8.8%

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The Cost of College in 1987-88

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $1,490
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 5.7%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $7,050
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 5.9%

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The Cost of College in 1988-89

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $1,580
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 6%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $8,000
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 13.5%

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The Cost of College in 1989-90

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $1,700
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 7.6%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $8,660
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 8.3%

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The Cost of College in 1990-91

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $1,910
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 12.4%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $9,340
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 7.9%

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The Cost of College in 1991-92

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $2,110
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 10.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $9,810
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 5%

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The Cost of College in 1992-93

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $2,330
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 10.4%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $10,450
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6.5%

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The Cost of College in 1993-94

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $2,540
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 9%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $11,010
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 5.4%

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The Cost of College in 1994-95

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $2,710
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 6.7%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $11,720
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6.4%

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The Cost of College in 1995-96

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $2,810
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 3.7%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $12,220
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 4.3%

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The Cost of College in 1996-97

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $2,980
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 6%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $12,990
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6.3%

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The Cost of College in 1997-98

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $3,250
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 4.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $14,710
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6.7%

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The Cost of College in 1998-99

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $3,250
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 4.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $14,710
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6.7%

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The Cost of College in 1999-2000

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $3,360
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 3.4%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $15,520
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 5.5%

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The Cost of College in 2000-01

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $3,510
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 4.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $16,070
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.5%

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The Cost of College in 2001-02

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $3,770
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 7.4%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $17,380
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 8.2%

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The Cost of College in 2002-03

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $4,100
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 8.8%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $18,060
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.9%

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The Cost of College in 2003-04

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $4,650
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 13.4%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $18,950
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 4.9%

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The Cost of College in 2004-05

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $5,130
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 10.3%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $20,050
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 5.8%

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The Cost of College in 2005-06

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $5,490
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 7%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $20,980
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 4.6%

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The Cost of College in 2006-07

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $5,800
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 5.6%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $22,310
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6.3%

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The Cost of College in 2007-08

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $6,190
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 6.7%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $23,420
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 5%

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The Cost of College in 2008-09

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $6,600
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 6.6%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $24,820
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 6%

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The Cost of College in 2009-10

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $7,070
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 7.1%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $25,740
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.7%

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The Cost of College in 2010-11

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $7,630
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 7.9%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $26,770
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 4%

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The Cost of College in 2011-12

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $8,280
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 8.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $27,880
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 4.1%

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The Cost of College in 2012-13

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $8,650
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 4.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $28,990
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 4%

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The Cost of College in 2013-14

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $8,890
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 2.8%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $30,130
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.9%

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The Cost of College in 2014-15

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $9,150
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 2.9%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $31,280
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.8%

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The Cost of College in 2015-16

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $9,430
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 3.1%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $32,340
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.4%

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The Cost of College in 2016-17

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $9,670
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 2.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $33,500
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.6%

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The Cost of College in 2017-18

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $9,980
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 3.2%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $34,700
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.6%

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The Cost of College in 2018-19

  • Average cost of a four-year public school: $10,230
  • Public school cost increase from the prior year: 2.5%
  • Average cost of a four-year private school: $35,830
  • Private school cost increase from the prior year: 3.3%

Click through to read more about how to cut college costs.

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