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College Board: Tuition continues rising faster than inflation

Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

The College Board released a report yesterday on the cost of tuition for public and private higher education institutions and found this year tuition costs continued to rise faster than the inflation rate on the U.S. dollar.

The College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing” 2015 report, indicated that tuition prices are increasing on both private and public campuses. A separate report done by Time’s Money magazine found that the increase in tuition rates is surpassing the inflation rate by a sizable margin.

According to the College Board’s report, the average tuition and fees at in-state public universities rose about 3 percent from last year — a relatively small increase by historical standards. However, the very low rate of general inflation in 2015-16 makes this increase more significant.

“Generally, tuition increases more rapidly in dollar terms over periods of higher inflation. But one-year tuition increases may not be closely linked to the inflation rate during that year,” said Sandy Baum, one of the authors of the College Board report. Baum is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and a education policy professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

“Over time, college prices go up more rapidly than the Consumer Price Index,” Baum continued, “which means that the price of college is rising relative to average prices of goods and services in the economy.”

Tuition prices are also dependent on the state. From a report in Governing, high tuition costs vary from state to state, due to the fact that tuition is dependent on a government’s discretionary spending fund.

Due to this phenomenon, in-state tuition varies from just under $5K in Wyoming, to just above $14K in New Hampshire.

Additionally, the College Board report focused on how financial aid for students is not keeping up with the rising tuition prices. That means, for most full time undergraduate students at public and private institutions, loans and other forms of federal or private aid aren’t enough to pay the bills.

The College Board collected data on almost all public and private nonprofit colleges in the country, but said they had a lower response rate from for-profit institutions.

“Our data on college prices and student aid are national and state-level data that affect everyone going to college or thinking about going to college,” Baum said.

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