Faculty & Research Progressivity of Pricing at US Public Universities Mar 29, 2022 By Sarah TurnerEmily E. Cook Progressivity of Pricing at US Public Universities Substantial increases in public university tuition often raise concerns about college affordability. But assessment of the impacts on low- and moderate-income families requires consideration of whether net tuition—tuition less grant aid—has increased commensurately. This paper describes recent shifts in net tuition by family income and institution type and assesses the role of changes in state funding in generating these shifts. Using data reported by universities on net tuition paid by students from different family income levels, we find that public research universities have increasingly shifted to high-tuition, high-aid pricing. From 2012 to 2018, net tuition fell by far more than would have been predicted by the growth in state appropriations, while tuition levels continued to rise, albeit at a slower rate than in the prior years. The increased progressivity in pricing, particularly among research universities, cannot be explained by changes in state appropriations. Link to Working Paper Areas of focus Education Sarah Turner Sarah Turner is a University Professor of economics, education and public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Souder Family Endowed Professor. Much of her research focuses on post-secondary education, where she explores the intersection of education and economics policies. Read full bio Emily E. Cook Related Content Sarah Turner Limited Supply and Lagging Enrollment: Production Technologies and Enrollment Changes at Community Colleges during the Pandemic Research Weak labor markets typically lead young workers to invest in skills. High unemployment during COVID diverged from prior downturns: enrollment at community colleges dropped by 9.5 percent between 2019 and 2020, with the drop larger among men. The Right Way to Capture College “Opportunity”: Popular Measures Can Paint the Wrong Picture of Low-Income Student Enrollment Research Higher education may be one of the most important channels through which people can attain improved life outcomes based on their merit rather than family background. If qualified students from lower-income families are underrepresented in higher education, there is potentially a failure not just in equity but in economic efficiency as well. Batten Faculty Recognized for Excellence in Teaching, Service, Research and Engagement News This academic year, Batten School professors won a slew of internal and external recognitions for excellence in teaching, service, research and engagement. Professor Sarah Turner: The more tuition rises, the cheaper college gets — for some News The Hechinger Report shares findings from Batten School Professor Sarah Turner's latest research on where, and for whom, college tuition costs are rising.