Tuition Spikes 14 Percent


Shrinking state appropriations caused college tuition and fees to climb some 14 percent at most four-year public institutions in 2003, up from the 9.6 percent increase of the previous year, the College Board announced Oct. 21.

Prices at public two-year colleges went up 13.8 percent, up from 7.9 percent, according to the board, a New York City-based nonprofit made up of 4,300 colleges and universities.

The tuition hikes mean that students at four-year state colleges and universities had to pony up nearly $4,700 to pay for higher education, up from $4,115 of the previous year. Students at two-year community colleges paid $1,905, up from nearly $1,700 of the previous year, the board said.

"Levels of state funding have dipped to a dangerously low point in recent years," College Board President and former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton said in a prepared statement.

Tuition and fees are lowest in the West, averaging $3,737 at four-year colleges and are highest in the region that College Board calls the "middle states," which include New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. The average price in the middle states was $6,350. New England states followed with the average cost of $6035. The board does not provide a state-by-state ranking of prices, but averages price by region.

While prices went up, so did loans, grants, work-study and other financial aid. The board said student financial aid reached more than $105 billion, up from the previous year's $90 billion figure.

State grants totaled only $5.6 billion of the total $105 billion in financial aid, or 5.4 percent, but that figure is more than the previous year's level of $5 billion.

Students in two-year colleges, on average, received nearly $2,000 in grants and those in four-year colleges netted $2,400.

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