Private college tuition increased by lowest rate in 40 years, but still outpaced inflation

by Grace

The rise in private college tuition slowed down to 3.9%, the smallest increase in forty years.  But it was still higher than last year’s 3.2% inflation rate.

Published tuition and fees at the nation’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities rose 3.9 percent for the 2012-13 academic year, the lowest rate in at least four decades, according to a survey by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). At the same time, institutional student aid budgets at private colleges increased an average of 6.2 percent for 2012-13….

This is the fourth consecutive year that the percentage increase in published tuition has stayed below pre-recession rates, and the first time in at least four decades it has been below 4 percent.  From 2009-10 to 2011-12, average private college tuition increases ran in the mid-4 percent range, down from an average annual increase of 5.7 percent during the previous 10 years.  This year’s 3.9 percent increase is the lowest NAICU has on record. (NAICU’s data goes back to 1972-73.)

But the increase in financial aid also slowed down.

This year’s average 6.2 percent increase in institutional student aid follows increases of 7 percent, 6.8 percent, and 9 percent in 2011-12, 2010-11, and 2009-10, respectively. The NAICU survey did not collect student aid figures prior to 2009-10.

Public tuition increases have been trending higher.
Based on trends indicated in this figure and on the ongoing reduction of per-student government contributions for higher education, I doubt we’ll hear similarly good news about the increase in college tuition at public colleges.


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