‘Tuition madness:’ The cost of college may be greater than you think

basketball player and hoop

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament is an epic struggle. The drama unfolding on the courts as teams battle for elimination – including come-from-behind wins and surprise victories by underdogs – help make “March Madness” a fitting title for this annual contest to determine who truly, and unquestionably, is THE number one team.

The tournament may also be an apt and timely reminder about the sticker shock parents and grandparents often experience when sending their young scholars off to college. Because the kids may not be able to do it alone. Take a quick peek at the 2021 tuition bracket to see just what type of financial challenge many families may face. Talk about tuition madness.

Unfortunately, college isn't likely to become more affordable any time soon, either. Costs are continuing their steady rise, according to the annual Trends in College Pricing report published by the College Board.

Average cost of colleges and universities for full-time undergraduates 2020-2021

  Public four-year in-state Public four-year out-of-state Private nonprofit four-year
Average budgets for one academic year $26,820 $43,280 $54,880
Percent increase from 2019-2020 cost (tuition and fees) 1.1% 0.9% 2.1%

Prices shown are average budgets, including published charges (enrollment-weighted) for full-time undergraduates, not adjusted for inflation. Average budgets include 2020-2021 Tuition and fees, room and board, and allowances for books and supplies, transportation and other expenses. Source: Ma, Jennifer, Matea Pender, and CJ Libassi (2020), Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid 2020, New York: College Board. © 2020 College Board.

Even though it may seem expensive, a college education is an investment that can both enrich lives and boost lifetime earning potential. Two excellent reasons to help make it a reality for the people you care about. The good news is: it's never too early or late to start planning for their educational needs.

For assistance, please contact your RBC Wealth Management financial advisor. Or use the advisor locator tool to find one near you.


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