WSU Tuition Costs and Inflation

We all know college is expensive. I’m living that first-hand.

I’m a senior at Washington State University. Our tuition is highest of any public university in Washington.

Here’s a bar graph which I made from data that I got from the Institutional Research department of WSU (this data can be found here):

Okay. So obviously we see that tuition has gotten really, really ridiculously expensive in comparison to what it was in 1971.

The above numbers do not include inflation, which changes the amount that everyone would have been paying significantly. The issue is that nothing compares to what we are paying today. You can see my spreadsheet that shows the actual costs of tuition, the CPI* and the inflation-adjusted costs of tuition here.

Here is all that crazy data made into four easy charts:

Made with TableuPublic by me, Hailee Codiga

The most notable trend in WSU tuition data is that it has gone up significantly since 2000. From 1970 to 1999, there was a small but gradual increase. The increase has been astronomical since 2000. Though, since 2010 tuition is hitting a “bubble”. It’s finally hitting the point where it can almost not go any higher.

The main point from this data? TUITION. IS. EXPENSIVE.

*CPI refers to the consumer price index. Essentially, it tells us how much to multiply a dollar amount from a past year to get what that dollar amount is worth now. The CPI data I used can be found here.