Runaway College Costs

Here’s a news bulletin that’s certainly appropriate for Halloweeen: The cost of a bachelor’s degree has climbed again.

According to the College Board, tuition and fees for the 2008-09 school year jumped anywhere from 4.5% to 6.5%, depending on the type of institution.

Here are today’s typical tuition costs:

Four-year public institution: $6,585.

Four-year private college: $25,143.

Community college: $2,300.

The College Board also reported that the average financial aid package has increased. The typical undergraduate recently received $8,896 in financial aid, which breaks down to $4,656 in grants and $3,650 in federal loans. Financial aid grants, however, aren’t keeping up with college costs.

Here’s more spooky news:

Thanks to the nation’s current financial turmoil, the American Council on Education, which is a coalition of more than 1,600 college and university presidents, has predicted that conditions are ripe for the biggest tuition hikes in more than a decade.

Here’s what Molly Corbett Broad, the council’s president, said this week in her statement:

I am concerned that we are entering a period—as we did following the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s—when we will see a sharp spike in tuition prices at both public and private institutions. Given the economic strain on state budgets, the pressure on state governments to shift the cost of education to students and families may prove irresistible. Private institutions, too, given the loss of endowment income and expected cutbacks in private giving, will likely be forced to increase tuition at the same time they struggle to increase institutional financial aid. Presidents and boards of trustees will be reluctant to increase tuition, but they will likely have little choice.

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