College Tuition Continues to Climb But Record Grant Aid Helps Many Students and Families

Oct 28, 2010, 00:01 ET from College Board Advocacy & Policy Center

Tuition Hikes at Public Colleges Continue to Outpace Those at Private Colleges

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. students and families faced an average 7.9 percent jump in in-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities in 2010-11, but their financial burden is being eased somewhat by record increases in federal grant aid, according to the 2010 Trends in Higher Education Series to be released today at the College Board's Forum 2010.  







The Trends in Student Aid 2010 and Trends in College Pricing 2010 reports, from the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, note that despite rising published prices, the average net prices students pay after considering grant aid and tax benefits have increased more slowly than the Consumer Price Index over the past five years. Financial aid has become increasingly important as both tuition and the other costs associated with going to college increase, while family incomes are stagnant or in decline.

"An economic downturn, tuition increases and stagnant incomes have converged to squeeze both American families as they try to send children to college and older students who are seeking more education to improve their job opportunities," said College Board President Gaston Caperton. "The silver lining is that record federal aid in the form of Pell Grants and tax credits is helping to make a college education more affordable."

The Trends in Higher Education Series helps answer critical questions on college affordability. Published tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities have increased at an average annual rate of 5.6 percent beyond inflation over the past 10 years, compared to 2.7 percent at public two-year colleges and 3.0 percent at private nonprofit four-year institutions.  

The average price of tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year institutions is $7,605 in 2010-11, a jump of $555 from the previous year. At private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities, the average price is $27,293, which represents an increase of 4.5 percent, or $1,164. Published tuition and fees at public two-year colleges increased by $155 (6.0 percent)  to $2,713 and for-profit institutions charge an average of $13,935, $679 (5.1 percent) more in 2010-11 than the year before.

"While we're encouraged by significant increases in financial aid, under the current economic conditions, too many students and families are still struggling to pay for college," said Sandy Baum, independent policy analyst for the College Board and co-author of the 2010 Trends in Higher Education Series.  

Increases in grant aid and tax credits don't benefit all students, but they are providing a financial boost for millions of families and students. The largest increase in Pell Grant history led to $28.2 billion in grant aid reaching 7.7 million students in 2009-10 — an increase of almost $10 billion from 2008-09. Grant aid from colleges and universities is also growing, and many students continue to rely on grants from states and private sources.

Full-time equivalent undergraduate enrollment increased from 12.7 in 2008-09 to 13.5 million in 2009-10. Undergraduates received an average increase of $1,100 in grant aid in 2009-10, and borrowed an additional $400 in federal loans, compared to 2008-09. Borrowing from nonfederal sources continued to decline, from about $11 billion for all undergraduate and graduate students combined in 2008-09 to about $8.5 billion in 2009-10.

The reports also focus on higher education spending among states. After adjusting for inflation, per-student state spending on higher education dropped by nearly 9 percent in 2008-09 and by another 5 percent in 2009-10, with federal stimulus funds accounting for 3 percent of state spending in 2008-09 and 5 percent in 2009-10.

Today at Forum 2010 in Washington, D.C., Baum joins Caperton in a live webinar and discussion of the Trends in Student Aid 2010 and Trends in College Pricing 2010 reports. The webinar will be available following the event at

The Trends in Student Aid 2010 and Trends in College Pricing 2010 reports are part of the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center's effort to provide the latest information affecting college access and affordability.  

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The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.  Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education.  Today, the membership association is made up of more than 5,700 of the nation's leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.  Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.

SOURCE College Board Advocacy & Policy Center