It’s almost time for college students across the country to head back to campus for the fall semester. For some, that means catching a flight to get back to school. We took a look at 70 colleges and universities in the U.S. to see how expensive the flights for Back to School week (the 8 days prior to the day classes begin) are compared to 2021. This is what we found.

Airfare prices are up across the board in college towns from 2021, about 23%.

The 10 largest universities we surveyed collectively show an increase in back to school airfare from 2021 of 22%. The data shows that mid-week flights are more economical, according to our Back to School Study in 2022. The lowest airfares to return to campus are on Tuesday or Wednesday, with the most expensive flights usually on a Sunday.

Below, please find our analysis for the top universities.

10 Largest Universities by Enrollment and Airport Market

largest U.S. university airfare increase 2022

We also looked at schools in the PAC 12, Big 10, Big 12 and SEC conferences. Here’s what we discovered. 

Pac 12 Schools

Pac 12 Schools Airfare Trends 2022

Big 10 Schools

Big 10 Schools

Big 12 Schools

Airfare Study of Big 12 Colleges Airfare Trends

SEC Schools

SEC Schools Airfare Trends 2022

How you (or your student) can keep prices down when airfare shopping for Back to School 

Only three universities (Harvard, UC Berkeley and UCSF) showed decreases in Back to School airfare and the amount is negligible for all three – just 3%. Most universities see a marked increase in price. Here are a few things you can do to help keep your prices reasonable:

  • Shop for early morning or late night flights, which due to lack of demand, are often the best price. Early morning flights are also statistically more likely to depart on time.
  • Fly mid-week (Tuesday and Wednesday) for the best prices on average
  • Avoid Sundays (almost always the most expensive travel day)
  • If your university is serviced by more than one airport, compare prices. Sometimes a larger market that is a bit farther away can save you significantly.


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