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College Board Reports: Tuition and Debt Increase, Federal Aid Decrease for 2012

The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center has long studied the tuition, educational fees, and room and board costs associated with completing an undergraduate degree. The Board just published two reports which show marked tuition and debt increases at public and private colleges for the 2011-12 academic year. The reports also indicated that the total amounts of federal aid has stalled stalled.

In the comparison of the average published fees and tuition for in-state and out-of-state students attending public colleges and universities for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, the Board found the following:

- A 4.8 percent increase for in-state tuition at public four year colleges and universities
- An $883 dollar increase for out-of-state tuition at public four year colleges and universities
- A $1,173 increase in tuition for private, nonprofit four-year institutions

Additionally, the reports showed that although student borrowing skyrocketed over the past ten years, borrowing from governmental aid programs declined by 4 percent between 2010-11 and 2011-12. The decline in federal parent loans, federal student loans, and nonfederal loans highlighted the struggle of covering rising tuition prices for students and their parents. The Board found that a $3 billion dollar decrease in federal financial aid and grants during the 2011-12 school year with undergraduate students receiving $13,218 in aid on average of the total of $49 billion in federal grant aid.

These changes in tuition and aid highlight the urgency of the development of sustainable public subsidies to secure adequate educational funding for today’s students. Policy analysts, state and federal officials, and the colleges and universities fault diminished state funding for rising tuition costs and education related fees. Most agree that if the problem of covering higher education costs remains unresolved, the economy and perhaps even society, are certain to face the detrimental consequences especially since during 2003 only two colleges charged over $40,000 for tuition and education expenses and within six years that number grew to over 220.

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