College price hikes are more modest but still painful
Posted at: 10/24/2012 2:14 AM
The cost of higher education continues to get higher -- but the news is decidedly mixed.
The sticker price of in-state tuition at four-year public universities climbed about $400 this fall. That's an increase of nearly 5 percent that brought the average to $8,655. That's a modest increase compared to recent years. But it's still painful for families with stagnant incomes after a prolonged economic slump.
Room-and-board charges grew by a comparable amount, raising the full cost for students living on campus to $17,860. But the latest annual figures from the College Board show only about one-third of full-time students pay that published price.
Altogether, the latest figures send mixed signals. They highlight that higher education is devouring an ever-increasing share of family incomes. But the numbers could also signal a point where several unsustainable trends in costs, borrowing, and student aid are at last beginning to break, though it's too soon to say for sure, according to report co-author Sandy Baum of the College Board and George Washington University.