“A rising tide,” as they say, “lifts all tuitions.” Perhaps that’s not the traditional saying, but the sentiment remains as accurate this year as ever. According to the College Board, college tuition continues to outstrip inflation. Worse yet, financial aid is not keeping up with the cost increases.
The College Board’s new report on Trends in College Pricing 2015 reveals a ton of informative and possibly demoralizing data on changes over time in undergraduate tuition and fees, room and board, and other college expenses, derived from the organization’s Annual Survey of Colleges. What are some of the biggest findings?
Average published tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year institutions rose by $1,122 (3.6%), from $31,283 in 2014-15 to $32,405 in 2015-16.
Average total charges are $43,921.
Average published tuition and fees for in‐state students in the public four‐year sector increased by $265 (2.9% before adjusting for inflation), from $9,145 in 2014-15 to $9,410 in 2015-16.
Average total charges are $19,548.
Average published out-of-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions rose by $786 (3.4%), from $23,107 in 2014-15 to $23,893 in 2015-16.
Average total charges are $34,031.
To put these tuition and fee increases in context, inflation increased about 1.62% in 2014. The current US Inflation Rate is flat.
Note that financial aid levels have stabilized, which impacts how much families are really paying for colleges. The result is that average net tuition and fees have increased in public two-year and four-year institutions and in private nonprofit four-year institutions between 2010-11 and 2015-16.
Do these tuition and fee increases seem high to you? Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, published in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions increased at an average annual rate of 3.4% per year beyond inflation, which is actually lower than increases in prior decades.
If you still have the will to go on, dive into the full Trends in College Pricing 2015 report!