Stateline Dispatch

Students Paying More for College


Students are paying more for their college educations even as tuition and fee increases at public four-year colleges and universities have slowed, according to new reports by the College Board. 

Why? After years of substantial increases in federal government aid to students during the recession, federal aid has slowed. 

“This year’s slowing of the price spiral does not mean that college is suddenly more affordable, that concerns about student debt will be set aside, or that low- and moderate-income students will no longer face financial hurdles as they pursue their educational ambitions,” said Sandy Baum, co-author of the reports on trends in college pricing and student aid. “But it is good news, and we hope it will allow more focus on helping students to access the available financial aid and to enroll and succeed in college.” 

Changes from 2012-13 to 2013-14, according to the College Board

  • The average published tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges grew 2.9 percent, from $8,646 to $8,893. That’s the smallest increase in over 30 years. Room and board averaged $9,498. 
  • The average published out-of-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges grew 3.1 percent, from $21,533 to $22,203.  
  • The average public tuition and fees at public two-year colleges grew 3.5 percent from $3,154 to $3,264. 
  • New Hampshire has the highest published in-state tuition rate for four-year colleges with tuition and fees averaging $14,665. Vermont is the most expensive for public two-year colleges, with tuition and fees averaging $7,090. 
  • Wyoming has the lowest published in-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges averaging $4,404. California has the lowest published in-state tuition and fees for public two-year colleges, averaging $1,424. 

In addition, the College Board said over the past five years, in-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges grew 5 percent in Missouri to a high of 70 percent in Arizona. At public two-year colleges, similar costs grew 1 percent in Maine and North Dakota to 111 percent in California (which still has the lowest average price in the country.) 

The College Board also found that state appropriations for higher education have fallen while enrollment has increased. 

  • State appropriations per student in 2012-13 ranged from $2,482 in New Hampshire to $17,253 in Alaska. 
  • In 2012-13, public colleges and universities received $6,646 per student in state funding, a decrease of 27 percent compared to five years earlier, adjusting for inflation. 
  • From 2001 to 2011, enrollment in public institutions grew by 27 percent, ranging from 11 percent in Louisiana to 48 percent in Florida and Georgia.  

In student aid and student debt, the College Board reported: 

  • Fifty-seven percent of students who graduated from four-year colleges in 2011-12 graduated had student debt, borrowing an average of $25,000.  
  • States are awarding more student aid based on financial need. Florida and Georgia went against the national trend, cutting their merit-based student aid programs. 
  • States increased spending on undergraduate grant aid to $9.4 billion in 2011-12, up from $6.5 billion in 2001-02, adjusted for inflation. 
  • South Carolina is the most generous state in terms of grant aid per undergraduate student, averaging $1,730. 

The College Board is a non-profit education organization that administers the SAT.  

October 23, 2013
Adrienne Lu