College Costs: Newest Evidence That Tuition Keeps Rising

Here’s a shocker:  College costs continue to rise.

That is the verdict of the College Board’s annual college cost study. Tuition and fees at state schools jumped 6.5% and the tuition cost at private schools rose 4.4%.

A few months ago, an association of private colleges and universities issued a press release congratulating their members for holding down the cost of college by increasing tuition by a mere 4.3%. At the time, I questioned how these folks could possibly be crowing with these college cost hikes.

In a New York Times article today, Patrick Callan, the president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, called the college tuition hikes hugely disappointing. “Given the financial hardship of the country, it’s simply astonishing that colleges and universities would have this kind of increases,” Callan noted. I couldn’t agree more.

While the news is grim, I always urge families to look at more than just sticker prices.  Published tuition prices are largely meaningless. When I’ve shopped for colleges for my own teens, we’ve largely limited the search to schools that provide tuition discounts.

There are a lot of tuition discounts to be had. According to yet another new report from the College Board, about 66% of undergraduates receive some type of grants.  At private non-profit colleges, the typical student is receiving about $14,400 in grants and federal tax benefits. That brings the average private tuition of $26,300 down to $11,900.

Further reading:

Tuition Price Hikes for Private Colleges and Universities
Memo to the Media: Let’s Be Clear on What the College Board Is

The Great College Fire Sale

College Scholarships for Rich Kids

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