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.

  • It may be dispersed? Perhaps this helps ache.alabama.gov/Expenditure/Index.htm
    – Ulrich
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 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
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 15:21
  • Worldwide or from specific countries? Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 7:45

3 Answers 3


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.


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.


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.


I did an IPEDS data pull for selected expenses at public institutions that might be helpful to others. For those not used to customizing IPEDS data pulls, you can access my recent data pull here http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/LoadSession.aspx by using this code: Guest_537187957662

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