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Has the Growth in the Price of Education Outpaced Overall Inflation?
FRB of St. Louis
2024.04.18
The prices of goods and services are typically captured by price indexes such as the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the cost of a typical basket of goods and services purchased by American consumers. When this same goods-and-services basket becomes more expensive, the CPI increases: That is inflation.

But a price index does not need to be only about “typical” goods and services. It can be specialized too. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles CPI data, also releases price indexes for recreation-related expenditures, medical care-related expenditures, etc.

This blog post considers education-related expenditures. The BLS produces a price index for “educational books and supplies” and one for “tuition, other school fees and child care.” The first index summarizes the cost of buying a typical educational books-and-supplies basket; the second index summarizes the costs of tuition at all levels of schooling, other education-related fees and child care.