Public College Costs Surge 8.3 Percent

By Bill McGuire

Oct 26, 2011 8:51am

The College Board reported today that average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges surged 8.3 percent this fall,  just as President Obama released details of his plan to help students deal with a debt burden that has expanded to more than $1 trillion.

“The national increase in tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for the 2011-12 academic year was influenced substantially by the State of California,” the Princeton, N.J.-based group said in a statement today.  ”Nationally, the increase for the public four-year sector was 8.3 percent between 2010-11 and 2011-12 including California but only 7.0 percent excluding it. Similarly, the national increase for public two-year institutions was 8.7 percent including California and 7.4 percent excluding it.”

President Obama revealed his “Pay as You Earn” proposal Tuesday to reduce monthly student loan payments starting in 2014. Borrowers will be able to cut their monthly student loan payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income and the plan will forgive the balance of their debt after 20 years of payments.  Starting this January, an estimated 6 million students and recent college graduates will be able to consolidate their loans and reduce their interest rates.

The College Board said the tuition increases stemmed from a weakened economy and state funding that has not kept pace with the growth in college enrollments. “For the fifth consecutive year, the percentage increase in average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities was higher than the percentage increase at private nonprofit four-year colleges. While national data provide an important snapshot of overall college prices, this year’s data also reveal substantial state-to-state pricing variations underlying the national averages,” the group said.

Highlights from the report follow:

Key Tuition and Fee Findings:

  • Published in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions average $8,244 in 2011-12, $631 (8.3 percent) higher than in 2010-11. Average total charges, including tuition and fees and room and board, are $17,131, up 6.0 percent.
  • Published out-of-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities average $20,770, $1,122 (5.7 percent) higher than in 2010-11. Average total charges are $29,657, up 5.2 percent.
  • Published in-state tuition and fees at public two-year colleges average $2,963, $236 (8.7 percent) higher than in 2010-11.
  • Published tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities average $28,500 in 2011-12, $1,235 (4.5 percent) higher than in 2010-11. Average total charges, including tuition and fees and room and board, are $38,589, up 4.4 percent.
  • Published tuition and fees at for-profit institutions average an estimated $14,487 in 2011-12, 3.2 percent higher than in 2010-11.

 

Key Student Aid Findings:

  • As a result of the introduction of the American Opportunity Tax Credit in 2009, education tax credits and tuition deductions per student increased by more than 80 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2007-08 and 2010-2011.
  • The distribution of subsidies from federal education tax benefits changed considerably with the introduction of the American Opportunity Tax Credit in 2009. The percentage of savings from credits and deductions going to taxpayers with incomes below $25,000 increased from 5 percent in 2008 to 17 percent in 2009. The percentage of savings going to those with incomes above $100,000 increased from 18 percent in 2008 to 26 percent in 2009.
  • In 2010-11, undergraduate students received an average of $12,455 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student in financial aid, including $6,539 in grant aid, $4,907 in federal loans, and $1,009 in a combination of tax credits and deductions and Federal Work-Study (FWS).
  • Graduate students received an average of $23,955 per FTE in aid, including $6,750 in grant aid, $16,423 in federal loans, and $782 in a combination of tax credits and deductions and Federal Work-Study (FWS).
  • From 2009-10 to 2010-11, grant aid per FTE undergraduate student increased by an estimated 7 percent, while federal loans declined by 2 percent.
  • These changes followed increases of 20 percent in average grant aid per FTE undergraduate student and 10 percent in average federal loans between 2008-09 and 2009-10. In the three years from 2007-08 to 2010-11, both grant aid and federal loans per student increased by about 30 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

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