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College Costs Rising Twice the Rate of Inflation: College Board

In-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and unversities rises 4.8 percent

| BY Donald Liebenson

There is good news and bad news on the college costs front, according to a College Board report released Wednesday. Published in-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities across the nation rose 4.8 percent, which is lower than in recent years. But total grand aid for students, which would cushion the impact of escalating tuition, did not increase in 2011-12.

In-state tuition at four-year public universities climbed about $400 this fall to $8,655. While this is a comparatively modest increase, that is small comfort to families for whom paying for college is a challenge in this prolonged economic downturn.

The tuition and fees increase was accompanied by a 3.7 percent increase in room and board charges for students living on campus. At $9,205, the College Board report states, these charges account for more than half of the total charges for these students.

The average published tuition and fees for out-of-state students at public four-year colleges and universities increased 4.2 percent from $20,823 in 2011-12 to $21,706 in the current school year. Total charges, including room and board for students living on campus, average $30,911.

At private nonprofit four-year institutions, tuition and fees increased 4.2 percent to $29,056. Add room and board and the total charges come to $39,518.

Tuition increases of over 4 percent are twice the rate of inflation, which increased just 2 percent over the past year.

While prices rose for this current school year, the increase was barely half the rate of the previous two years. But financial aid budgets remained stagnant, shifting more of the burden onto families.  

Total education borrowing, including federal student and parent loans, as well as nonfederal loans, declined by 4 percent between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the College Board reported. This is the first decline in at least 20 years. However, the 2011-12 total of $113.4 billion was 24 percent higher than five years earlier.

Diminished state funding is a key factor contributing to the rise in tuition at public colleges and universities, the College Board found.

About the Author

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.