College Board: Higher Education Prices Continue to Rise

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The cost of higher education has increased again, says the College Board’s 2014-2015 pricing report.

Thirty years ago, a student could attend a public, four-year school for just 1/3 of today’s cost, but while tuition is rising, student borrowing is lessening.

The College Board report found that tuition and fees averaged $18,943 for undergraduate students at an in-state, four year colleges, which is 2.9% more than the 2013-2014 school year, writes Julia Gunn, reporting for the International Business Times. For public colleges outside a student’s home state, the average tuition and fees average $32,762. A

Add $10,000 to that for students who want to enroll in a private, but non-profit, four-year school. The cost for attending for-profit colleges increased about $190. Although these numbers include room and board, they do not include books or transportation costs, or take into account grant money or tax credits.

The cause of the rise may be because of the economy, which could result in public schools not receiving as much money from their states, and, at the same time, private colleges may receive fewer donations. Sandy Baum, a co-author of the report, said that the increase was not as bad as it may seem to students and their parents.

“The price increases are actually quite moderate this year, but still what people are paying, and this is before financial aid, is the accumulation of many years of price increases,” Baum said. “So, if the price goes up just a little bit this year, people aren’t really going to breathe a sigh of relief because the price is already high from their perspective.”

Fewer student loans in smaller amounts are being taken out by students. The average loan for last school year amounted to $6,670, which is $320 less than for the 2013-2014 year.

An increase of 16% of full-time undergraduate students took place in the three years leading up to the fall 2010,  a number which increased up to 13.7 million. In the fall of 2013, the number declined to 13 million. Also, according to Kimberly Hefling of the Associated Press, 60% of students who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2012-2013, from public or private nonprofit schools, left those same schools with debt, having borrowed an average of $27,300.

One of the reasons for a drop in borrowing by undergraduate students may be because college enrollment is dropping as well. Naturally, some students are being more cautious about taking on a large amount of student debt, says Janet Lorin, writing for Bloomberg. As consumer become more critical of the value of a college degree, the Obama Administration plans to introduce a rating system which will allow families to see which colleges provide the most value, along with providing graduation rates and average student debt.

“Even if the increases are slightly smaller than they had been in the past, if family income isn’t growing, any tuition rise is going to be painful,” said Ben Miller, a senior policy analyst at the New America Foundation in Washington.

The College Board, located in New York City, is a non-profit organization with a mission centered on connecting students to “college success and opportunity.”  The organization is responsible for the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program.