College enrollment in the United States has been on a steady decline over the past several years. The number of undergraduates who matriculated at U.S. colleges and universities has fallen every fall for the last five years, declining from 29.5 million in 2011 to 27.4 million in 2015. One deciding factor in the increasingly popular decision not to attend college may the rising cost of tuition.
Over the past five years, the cost of in-state tuition in the United States rose by 13.5% on average, from $13,391 in the 2011-12 school year to $15,201 in the 2016-17 school year. In-state tuition at public, four-year universities rose by 17.7%, and at private, not-for-profit, four-year universities by 16.6%.
Among the primary factors affecting the price of tuition are rising student fees, declining state funding, and increasing enrollment of low-income students. Many of the colleges with the largest five-year tuition hikes are clustered in the South and are often mid-sized technical or religious universities.
To determine the colleges with the largest five-year tuition hikes, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Four-year universities were ranked based on the change in their published in-state tuition from the 2011-12 school year to the 2016-17 school year. 24/7 Wall St. also interviewed Richard Reeves, branch chief for the postsecondary branch of NCES, for insight into where and why college tuition is rising.