Higher education is expensive and getting more so–that’s the conclusion of a study by the College Board that were released on Wednesday. The cost of tuition at four year public universities were up around $400 in Fall semester, an increase of nearly 5 percent year over year which increased the overall average tuition to $8,655. The increase is smaller than recent years, but still a continuation of a multiyear trend.
Tuition wasn’t the only price increase on American college campuses. Room-and-board fees grew by a similar amount, raising the full cost for students living on campus to $17,860 per year. Keep in mind that this total cost is for in state tuition at public universities. Tuition at top private universities is substantially higher as are other costs associated with getting an education.
There is some good news–a smaller number of students pay the full sticker price for tuition, room or board. The latest figures from the College Board suggest that only a third of all full time traditional students pay the ‘list price’. The estimated net price — what students pay out of pocket after grants and tax credits — is considerably less: approximately $2,910 for tuition at public universities, and $12,110 including room and board.
The cost of an education at private schools also increased. At private four year schools the total cost is $39,518 on average, including room and board. Private schools saw their first increase in net prices in three years but this year they were up around $780. The estimated net price–including room and board but minus grants and financial aid–at private schools is $23,840.
These figures and the ‘takeaway’ from them was quickly politicized suggesting that they’re symptomatic of everything from Obama’s failure as a President to the imperative of higher taxes on middle class Americans. Of course you have to keep in mind that most of the spin comes from college administrators who will be loathe to look for cost cutting measures on their own campus. In fact, some have been working against the trend toward free online education–incredibly the state of Minnesota just made free online college courses illegal, largely a result of higher education lobbying to protect their ‘golden goose’