NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

College Is Affordable

October 17, 2000

Reports just released by the College Board show the cost of attending four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. has risen between 4.4 and 5.2 percent since last year. But with a record $6.8 billion in student financial aid available last year, a college education is still well within the grasp of all Americans.

  • Undergraduates at four-year private institutions are paying 5.2 percent more this year for tuition and fees, while room and board has increased 4.2 percent -- to an average of $16,332 and $6,209, respectively.
  • Those at four-year public institutions are paying 4.4 percent more for tuition and fees, with room and board increasing 5.1 percent -- to $3,510 and $4,960, respectively.
  • At two-year private schools, students are paying 7 percent more -- $7,458 on average.
  • While those attending two-year public institutions are paying 3.4 percent more -- an average $1,705.

The increases are slightly higher than those recorded last year, but the consumer price index has also increased, analysts point out. The increase in the CPI for the 12 months ending in August was 3.3 percent. It was 2.3 percent for the previous 12 months.

Some 59 percent of college student aid is in the form of loans, rather than grants. In 1980-81, loans were just over 41 percent.

Source: Mary Beth Marklein, "Toll Goes Up on Road to Higher Salary," USA Today, October 17, 2000.


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