College Board Says College Costs In Step With Inflation


Years of rapidly increasing college costs may be coming to an end, at least that is what the College Board has concluded from a pair of reports they conducted recently covering college pricing and student aid trends.

According to the College Board which describes itself as “…a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity,” the cost for college for the 2008-2009 academic year rose slightly faster than the Consumer Price Index (CPI), one of the chief indicators measuring prices and inflation.

“A college education is the passport to opportunity and success in today’s global economy. In this time of financial uncertainty, it is essential that students and families have the most up-to-date information on the true costs associated with making this important investment in their future,” College Board President Gaston Caperton said. “These new reports will help families understand the financial realities of higher education, including the aid available, and then make the best possible decisions.”

Though the increase in the cost of college hasn’t doubled the CPI as it has in recent years, the CPI itself has had one of its largest increases in quite some time, jumping 5.6%. Adjusted for inflation, the cost of attending a community college dropped slightly, while the cost of attending public and private four-year colleges registered a slight increase. Still, students are paying more for college this year than last year and with student aid (loans and grants) figured in, some families are paying much more as aid continues to drop.

The reports’ key findings are summarized in the table below:

Private Four-Year Public
Four-Year In-State
Four-Year Out-of-State
Public Two-Year For-Profit
Published 2008-09 Tuition and Fees $25,143 $6,585 $17,452 $2,402 $13,046
One-Year Dollar Increase $1,398 $394 $866 $108 $557
One-Year Percentage Increase 5.9% 6.4% 5.2% 4.7% 4.5%
One-Year Percentage Increase After Inflation 0.3% 0.7% -0.4% -0.8 -1.1%
Average Grant Aid and Tax Benefits per Student $10,200 $3,700 $2,300 N/A

Lowest Costs and Where

According to the College Board, the lowest costs for college can be found in the West where two-year schooling is the lowest in the nation, while four-year colleges are least expensive in the South. As expected, the highest priced colleges can be found in New England thanks, in part, to that region’s preponderance of elite private schools.

(Source: College Board)

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Categories: Campus News