Annual Report Shows College Cost Increases Slowing

The latest report on college costs published by the College Board indicted that, although college costs still increased more than general inflation in the past year, the increase in tuition and fees for the 2014-2015 academic year will be lower than the average annual increases in the past five years, the past 10 years, and the past 30 years across all sectors included in the study.1


Specific increases, as published in "Trends in College Pricing 2014," are as follows:1


•Public, in-state, four-year institutions: Average tuition and fees increased by $254 (2.9%), from $8,885 in 2013-2014 to $9,139 in 2014-2015. Room and board charges are $9,804.


•Public, out-of-state, four-year institutions: Average tuition and fees rose by $735 (3.3%), from $22,223 in 2013-2014 to $22,958 in 2014-2015. Average total charges are $32,762.


•Private, nonprofit, four-year institutions: Average tuition and fees rose by $1,100 (3.7%), from $30,131 in 2013-2014 to $31,231 in 2014-2015. Average total charges are $42,419.


•Public two-year colleges: Average tuition and fees increased by $106 (3.3%), from $3,241 in 2013-2014 to $3,347 in 2014-2015.


The report points out that the increases in in-state tuition and fees at four-year public institutions of 2.9% for the 2014-2015 academic year and 2.8% for the 2013-2014 academic are the only increases since 1974-1975 that have been less than 3% (not adjusted for inflation).


For public and private four-year institutions combined, the median published tuition and fee price for full-time undergraduates is $11,550 for the 2014-2015 academic year.


While the data showed that college price increases are not accelerating, the report's authors affirmed that, in real terms, college costs have been rising for decades. The report offers the following example: "The inflation-adjusted average published price for in-state students at public four-year universities is 42% higher than it was 10 years ago and more than twice as high as it was 20 years ago. In the private nonprofit four-year sector, the increases were 24% over 10 years and 66% over 20 years."1




1.  The College Board, "Trends in College Pricing 2014," November 13, 2014.


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