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I'd like to examine claims frequently made in popular articles about reasons for the rising cost of education, e.g. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/business/cost-of-higher-education/index.html. I have not yet successfully found any articles that link to the original data.

I think it's fairly likely that data on at least public school spending is available somewhere on nces.ed.gov, but I haven't found it - I think perhaps I'm searching by the wrong keywords.

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It may be dispersed? Perhaps this helps ache.alabama.gov/Expenditure/Index.htm –  Ulrich Mar 8 at 14:32
    
I agree with @Ulrich that you will likely have to pull data from various sources. I think the journalists have some historical costs for some colleges and universities, but it is probably not an exhaustive data set. –  philshem Mar 8 at 15:21
    
Worldwide or from specific countries? –  PERSONA NON GRATA Mar 9 at 7:45

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Every year the US Department of Education requires all accredited post-secondary education institutions to complete the IPEDS survey. It's huge amount of data. You can get canned and customizable downloaded datasets here. I've used this site a lot.

http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/

The datasets contain information on past, current and projected costs of education per institution, including breaking it down by in-state, out-of-state, foreign, tuition, books, fees, on and off campus housing, etc.

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I was going to post this source, but you beat me to the punch. D: –  Kotebiya Mar 9 at 22:16
    
Nice answer. I passed this along, maybe we'll see a nice dataviz soon: twitter.com/randal_olson/status/447799197450764288 –  philshem Mar 24 at 11:31
    
This seems to be the output. randalolson.com/2014/03/29/… And re-shared data in easy access format: randalolson.com/wp-content/uploads/tuition_data_1987_2010.csv –  philshem Mar 30 at 18:50

Some public institutions will have open salary databases; it varies by state. Here's Wisconsin's, along with some other budget info.

Some stuff you're going to have a terrible time nailing down because the vendors don't want you to know and impose NDAs. IT infrastructure spending is one likely example; library expenditure on electronic journals and databases is another.

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