Every September, enthusiastic college freshmen head to campus with hearts full of desire to learn and hopes that, four or five years later, a college degree will open many doors to bright career opportunities. Around the same time, their parents start receiving those tuition bills, and reality sets in: college is expensive.
Just how expensive? Tuition, fees, room and board at four-year private colleges averaged $36,993 in the 2009-10 academic year, according to the College Board, a not-for-profit association that tracks higher education costs and financial aid annually. Public colleges and universities may be less expensive, but tuition increases surpass those at private schools each year. For more details on the cost of college today, take a look at our infographic, compiled with data from the College Board’s latest Trends in College Pricing report.