We grant the Tuition Hero™ designation to institutions that meet at least one of two criteria:

  1. Their tuition has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.5% or less over four years.
  2. They have a fixed rate tuition policy option.

We track the last four consecutive years of tuition (including required fees) and calculate a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). The CAGR provides the year-over-year growth rate of tuition over a specified period of time and describes the rate at which tuition would have grown if it grew at a steady rate. CAGR = (Ending Value ÷ Beginning Value)1/n – 1, where “n” equals the number of years.

A fixed rate tuition option provides a predefined tuition rate over a period of time. The contractual agreement between the student and institution may contain specific criteria that students must meet in order to maintain the predefined tuition rate. But, as long as the institution has made the logical effort to control costs to students and allow them to foresee future expenses, the institution will be granted the Tuition Hero designation, even if their tuition CAGR is more than 2.5%.

If you have a fixed rate tuition policy, please let us know.

Institutions are scored based on the rating scale below:

4 Year Tuition CAGR Rating
2.5% or Less Tuition Hero
2.6% – 3.0% Excellent
3.1% – 4.0% Very Good
4.1% – 5.0% Good
5.1% or More Poor


Data in the Tuition Heroes™ directory was derived from the College Affordability and Transparency Center.

The College Affordability and Transparency Center includes information for students, parents, and policymakers about college costs at America’s colleges and universities. The Center includes several lists of institutions based on the tuition and fees and net prices (the price of attendance after considering all grant and scholarship aid) charged to students. These lists meet requirements outlined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) and will be updated annually and posted on the College Navigator website by July 1.

The lists were generated using data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). IPEDS is a mandatory data collection for institutions that participate in or are applicants for participation in any federal student financial aid program authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (20 USC 1094, Section 487(a)(17) and 34 CFR 668.14(b)(19)).

The Tuition Heroes™ directory contains tuition (includes required fees) for full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students at Title IV institutions. This includes institutions that charge students by academic year and institutions that charge by the program. Tuition and fees for the largest program were used for institutions that charge by the program. For institutions that charge different tuition for in-state, or out-of-state students, the minimum tuition was used.