What Does Your College Tuition Fee Pay?


If you are a parent, a guardian, a student in college, or looking to join one, you are perhaps wondering where your college tuition goes to. Frankly, it is a bit difficult to account for your tuition fee unless you breakdown some figures. For example, how much goes into paying salaries? How about the development of institutional infrastructures? Well, let us break down the data and tell you what your college tuition pays for.

College Tuition Fee
What Does Your College Tuition Actually Pay For?

Things that you pay for in your college fee

Recent data from the U.S Department of Education regarding public colleges and universities can give a glimpse of where your fees go. Among the things that your tuition caters for is to pay for the instructors, construction, and maintenance of classrooms, dining halls, research, and taxes.

To drive the point home, let us take $100 that you spend on your tuition. Here is how it is divided:

Education expenses

For every 100 dollars you pay, $61.46 is used for educational purposes as follows:

  • Salaries for staff, student employees, and the faculty member- $15.81
  • Educational infrastructure such as buildings-$ 11.47
  • Your health, residential halls, and food services you get in school- $9.61
  • Cost for academic functions such as library fee, visits to learning places like the museums and academic clinic- $8.26
  • IT support and logistics- $8.15
  • Services offered during admissions and the various students’ activities- $4.75
  • Grants offered to the student- $3.41

Recommend For You

Costs outside the classroom

The remaining $38.54 is used for paying for the expenses outside of the traditional classroom setting and needs:

  • Health care expenses that are offered in the college- $15.58
  • Construction and maintenance of projects and research centers- $11.66
  • Money for taxes, liabilities, and costs of depreciation- $6.25
  • The cost of community service and conferences- $4.52
  • Independent institutional activities such as funding of research activities-$0.53

The higher cost of private colleges

It is common knowledge that private college will tend to cost you more than if you attended a public one, for the same course. Reports for 2019-20 fee payments showed that the cost of the fee, room, and board was twice as much in a private college as it was in a public college. Why this huge disparity? The simple answer is that publicly funded colleges are likely to receive more government support than private colleges. Private colleges have to find ways to raise the cost, leading to higher fees.

The trend in the cost of college education

At the moment, you will pay more in the college tuition fee compared to what you would have paid 20 or 30 years ago. Now, the high cost of living is one aspect to explain the rising cost of tuition fees. There has also been an increased demand for college education in the past decade. It is expected that the cost will keep rising over the coming years for both private and public institutions.

Wrap up

We hope you now know a thing or two about where every coin of your college fees goes. Remember though, college fees will vary depending on the institution. That said, we hope that this quick guide will help you make better decisions.