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Here's how much college cost the year you were born

A father and daughter at graduation in the 1970s.
PNC | Getty Images

In 1919, an estimated 598,000 students were enrolled in American colleges. One hundred years later, nearly 20 million students are enrolled in college.

And while college attendance has increased dramatically over time, so have costs. The College Board estimates that during the 1998 - 1999 school year, average published costs at public institutions (including tuition, room and board) were $12,000 and the average net cost for public university students after grants and scholarships was about $8,850. During the 2018 - 2019 school year, those figures increased to $21,370 and $14,880, respectively.

But calculating the cost of college over time is challenging, because few Americans attended college during the first half of the 20th century and there is limited information on the cost of college before the 1960s. In the early 1900's, college was mostly reserved for wealthy white men. It wasn't until Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill of Rights, that college access increased to include large swaths of veterans. The Higher Education Act of 1965 increased accessibility for women and minorities.

According to Discover, the average cost of college for full-time undergraduate students has increased 143% since 1963. The financial services company estimates that during the 1963-1964 school year, the average student paid the equivalent of $9,818, in 2017 dollars, for tuition, fees, room and board. During the 2016-2017 school year, students paid approximately $23,091 to cover the same costs.

Using data collected as part of the Higher Education General Information Survey and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, The College Board took a look at tuition, fees, room and board at private and public colleges between the 1971 - 1972 and 2018 - 2019 school years.

Here's how much college cost the year you were born in 2018 dollars, according to The College Board:

1971 - 1972 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $18,140
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,730

1972 - 1973 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $18,580
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $9,320

1973 -1974 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $18,320
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $9,100

1974 - 1975 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $17,450
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,420

1975 - 1976 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $17,110
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,280

1976 - 1977 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $17,570
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,560

1977 - 1978 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $17,520
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,430

1978 - 1979 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $17,680
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,250

1979 - 1980 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $17,270
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,030

Pino Grossetti/Mondadori via Getty Images

1980 - 1981 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $17,030
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $7,770

1981 - 1982 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $17,410
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $7,900

1982 - 1983 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $18,430
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,270

1983 - 1984 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $19,580
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,650

1984 - 1985 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $20,460
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $8,910

1985 - 1986 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $20,810
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $9,020

1986 - 1987 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $22,670
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $9,320

1987 - 1988 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $23,160
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $9,300

1988 - 1989 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $24,800
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $9,480

1989 - 1990 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $25,440
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $9,560

1990 - 1991 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $26,050
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $9,800

1991 - 1992 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $26,260
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $10,080

1992 - 1993 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $26,960
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $10,460

1993 - 1994 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $27,570
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $10,840

1994 -1995 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $28,020
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $11,240

1995 - 1996 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $28,720
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $11,140

1996 - 1997 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $29,470
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $11,460

1997 - 1998 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $30,400
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $11,730

1998 - 1999 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $31,590
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $12,000

1999 - 2000 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $32,470
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $12,210

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post/Getty Image

2000 - 2001 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $32,430
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $12,310

2001 - 2002 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $33,880
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $12,820

2002 - 2003 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $34,800
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $13,530

2003 - 2004 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $35,710
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $14,430

2004 - 2005 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $36,550
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $15,140

2005 - 2006 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $37,070
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $15,630

2006 - 2007 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $37,770
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $15,900

2007 - 2008 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $38,700
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $16,410

2008 - 2009 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $38,720
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $16,460

2009 - 2010 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $41,040
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $17,830

2010 - 2011 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $42,160
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $18,700

2011 - 2012 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $42,350
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $19,140

2012 - 2013 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $43,390
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $19,600

2013 - 2014 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $44,190
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $19,830

2014 - 2015 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $44,900
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $20,020

2015 - 2016 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $46,330
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $20,660

2016 - 2017 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $47,490
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $21,100

2017 - 2018 academic year

Private college tuition, fees, room and board: $48,380
Public college in-state tuition, fees, room and board: $21,400

2018 - 2019 academic year

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A father and daughter at graduation in the 1970s.
PNC | Getty Images
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