Pennsylvania’s private colleges and universities more affordable today than five years ago

Nov 30, 2016

Students who received financial aid at Pennsylvania’s nonprofit private colleges and universities in 2014 on average paid lower net tuition and fees than students in 2010, according to a new analysis issued by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP). Nearly 85 percent of full-time, first year students attending Pennsylvania’s private colleges and universities received financial aid.
While published tuition prices at Pennsylvania’s independent colleges and universities have risen over the years, colleges have developed grant aid packages that keep costs affordable and make higher education accessible to students. AICUP researchers found that in 2014, students who received aid paid an average of only 38 percent of the $33,811 published tuition and fees, or $12,963. The study noted that federal, state, and institutional grant aid was used to make college more affordable to students and help them attain a degree at a reasonable price.
“Students and parents should not rule out private colleges based on sticker price because as this study shows average net tuition and fees at private colleges and universities have actually fallen for many students over the past several years,” said AICUP President Don Francis. “Prospective students and their families who decide not to apply to nonprofit private colleges and universities across the state because of published tuition and fee rates unnecessarily limit their choices.”
According to the AICUP analysis of federal data, full-time, first-year students receiving financial aid at an independent college or university in Pennsylvania paid, on average, $12,963 in inflation-adjusted dollars in net tuition and fees in 2014, compared to $13,367 in 2010—a drop of $404 over five years. Net tuition reflects federal, state and institutional grant aid received; many students secure student loans to pay net tuition. This continues a trend that began several years ago. 
The tuition report was gathered by AICUP researchers using the most recent data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Financial Aid survey. 
 The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP), the only statewide organization that serves exclusively the interests of private higher education within the Commonwealth, exists to complement and support the work of campus leaders.  With a membership of 90 private colleges and universities within Pennsylvania, the Association provides a variety of services and programs tailored specifically to the needs and situation of independent higher education.  A list of AICUP’s member colleges and universities is included on its website at