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College Tuition & Borrowing Trends 🧑‍🎓

At the end of August, President Biden announced that he plans to forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for most borrowers, plus up to $20,000 for recipients of Pell Grants (

No matter what side of the issue you're on, it's interesting to look at this document drafted by College Board. The PDF (posted below), shows the trends in which the price of college tuition and amount of student loans have travelled since the school year of 1990-1991.

Download PDF • 1.05MB

Even after adjusting for inflation, it's crazy to see just how much the cost of a college education has risen in thirty years. The document gives much more in-depth data, but on average (and inflation adjusted), a public four-year education has gone from $3,800 to $10,560 from 1990-91 to 2019-20. Wow!

(not adjusted for inflation)

Interestingly enough, the data provided in this document shows that federal borrowing hasn't followed the same trend as the average prices of tuition. In the figure below, the average federal loans taken by students has only gone up by $400 in twenty years! Compare that to a $5,300 difference in average tuition costs in the same amount of time. According to College Board, 55% of borrowers owe less than $20,000 and 10% owe more than $80,000.

Will Biden's plans help students bear the cost of today's high tuitions, or will it cause something else? 💸

View the online PDF here:

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