For the past several decades, college costs have steadily increased, rising fastest at four-year public universities.
According to the College Board's 2018 Trends in College Pricing Report, from 1988 to 2018, sticker prices doubled private nonprofit four-year schools but tripled for in-state students at four-year public universities. During the 2018-2019 school year, published in‐state tuition and fees at public four‐year schools averaged $10,230.
But these costs can be significantly higher for out-of-state students. The College Board estimates that out-of-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions rose by $620, from $25,670 during the 2017-2018 school year to $26,290 during the 2018-2019 school year.
The difference in cost for out-of-state and in-state students can be significant, including at some of the country's most respected public institutions. At the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus, estimated tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 school year is $15,558 for in-state freshmen and sophomores and $17,522 for in-state juniors and seniors. But for out-of-state students these costs are $51,200 for freshmen and sophomores and $54,794 for juniors and seniors.
The school also estimates that for all students, room and board is about $12,000 for a standard double room and that books and supplies costs a little over $1,000 per year.
It is typical for public universities to charge out-of-state students significantly more than in-state students, and many schools use the extra funds to subsidize costs for in-state students and to provide scholarships.
According to the University of Michigan's website, the school is "the only public university in Michigan that covers 100% of demonstrated financial need of eligible Michigan residents" and roughly "70% of all in-state U-M undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid."
The school states that qualifying in-state students from families that make $65,000 get free tuition for up to four years of full-time study. In-state students from families that make up to $180,000 qualify for some tuition support.
Here are the typical financial aid packages offered to qualified Michigan families:
Families making between $65,000 and $95,000
- Percent of applicants who qualify for aid: 97%
- Average scholarship and grant aid: $15,309
- Average tuition after scholarship and grant aid: $1,387
Families making between $95,000 and 125,000
- Percent of applicants who qualify for aid: 89%
- Average scholarship and grant aid: $9,583
- Average tuition after scholarship and grant aid: $7,113
Families making between $125,000 and 150,000
- Percent of applicants who qualify for aid: 68%
- Average scholarship and grant aid: $6,011
- Average tuition after scholarship and grant aid: $10,685
Families making between $150,000 and 180,000
- Percent of applicants who qualify for aid: 63%
- Average scholarship and grant aid: $4,533
- Average tuition after scholarship and grant aid: $12,163
At public universities like the University of Michigan, the percentage of out-of-state students, who often do not qualify for the aid reserved for in-state students, is increasing. According to The Washington Post, in 2006 64% of University of Michigan freshmen were from Michigan. In 2016, just 51% were from the state.
The University of Michigan also has a relatively wealthy student body. According to an analysis of highly-selective public colleges by The New York Times, the University of Michigan has the highest share of students from the top 1%. The Times estimates that 9.3% of Michigan students come from families that make roughly $630,000 or more per year and the median family income of a University Michigan student is $154,000.
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