Support Marketplace

Report: College tuition continues to rise nationally

Occupy Wall Street protestors have brought to light a variety of start economic issues facing the U.S. Our special podcast series examines those issues.

College tuition bills will soon start showing up for next semester and they'll be enough to get the pulse racing. The College Board said today tuition at private, four-year schools went up well above inflation -- 4.5 percent this academic year.

So your kid can just go to public school, you say? Well, the College Board says tuition at public colleges and universities -- while still much cheaper than private schools -- also went up, 8.3 percent for in-state students and 5.7 percent for out-of-staters. The board reports that just over half of bachelor's degree recipients at four-year public schools graduated with debt, averaging about $22,000. Meanwhile, at private nonprofit universities, 68 percent had debt, averaging around $28,000.

News that the cost of attending public and private universities is increasing faster than the rate of inflation is a big hit to the Marketplace Daily Pulse today.

In a press release, the College Board said:

Increases in college prices for the 2011-12 academic year reflect the continued impact of a weakened economy as well as state funding that has not kept pace with the growth in college enrollments. For the fifth consecutive year, the percentage increase in average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities was higher than the percentage increase at private nonprofit four-year colleges. While national data provide an important snapshot of overall college prices, this year's data also reveal substantial state-to-state pricing variations underlying the national averages.

"While the importance of a college degree has never been greater, its rapidly rising price is an overwhelming obstacle to many students and families," said College Board President Gaston Caperton.

The College Board's report comes on the heels of President Obama's announcement of a plan to help struggling students manage their loan payments.

"College isn't just one of the best investments you can make in your future, it's one of the best investments America can make in our future," said Obama today at the University of Colorado in Denver. "We want you in school. But we shouldn't saddle you with debt when you're starting off."

Find out more about Obama's plan here.

And some other good news for college students: By October 29, colleges across the country will be required to put calculators on their websites that provide a better idea of what students will have to pay -- including things like tuition, room, board, and typical financial aid.

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...