College costs continue to rise (surprise, surprise), according to the latest statistics released by the College Board.
The news is depressing, but not as awful as you might assume. As I’ve discussed in previous college blog posts, roughly two-thirds of college students receive scholarships or other price breaks so the sticker prices are meaningless.
2010-2011 College Tuition Prices
Type of school Price % Increase
- Private colleges $27,293 4.5%
- State universities $7,605 7.9%
- State universities, non-residents $19,595 6.0%
- Community college $2,713 6.0%
On the surface, these college cost increases seem alarming because during the past year inflation barely registered a pulse. When you adjust for scholarships and financial aid, however, the cost of college has increased more slowly than the Consumer Price Index over the past five years.
The most alarming college tuition increases right now are being felt at state universities where most students attend. State governments, such as out here in California, have been cutting back their support of their public universities and unfortunately I don’t see that changing. The fact that the federal stimulus money is just about gone for public universities is only going to aggravate the fiscal problems.
State and private college and universities clearly need to find a way to reign in their costs, but I don’t see any signs of that happening.
While these latest college prices are depressing, you need to keep in mind that the only college costs that matters are the ones that your family pays. When evaluating colleges focus on what individual schools will offer your teenager. I hate to be a nag about this, but often you will find better deals if you and your child are willing to at least look at some schools that aren’t in your state.
While parents are helpless to stop this price increase onslaught, teens can fight back by being the best students they possibly can be. That means in and out of the classroom. Good students are the ones who are snagging the best price breaks. Grade point averages and the strength of a teen’s academic record are typically what colleges care about the most.
College Tuition Tool
If you want to check out what college costs have been doing at individual colleges, try using this cool college cost tool from The Chronicle of Higher Education that shows the yearly tuition and fees for thousands of schools since 1999.