With $50,000 colleges and beyond, it only appears as if the cost of college is absolutely skyrocketing. However, new research actually suggests that the total net cost of college (tuition minus scholarships/aid) is decreasing slightly, according to an article in the Washington Post.
In the previous few years, colleges have hiked tuition at record rates. But now, colleges are announcing much smaller tuition increases for the 2011-2012 school year.
Tuition costs increased rapidly during the Great Recession, but costs are now starting to level out. Tuition costs are decreasing partly because colleges previously received a lot of criticism for record-breaking tuition hikes.
Also, colleges are growing increasingly more concerned about their tuition costs, competing with one another to offer a quality education at the best price. Many state governors and colleges’ board of trustees are opposing significant tuition hikes; some are opposing any tuition increases at all.
Other governors and board of trustee members are placing tuition increase or total cost increase caps at certain percentages, meaning they are mandating that colleges cannot increase tuition higher than a certain percentage.
The average, national college tuition increase from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012 is 4.5%, marking one of the lowest tuition increases in the past 20 years.
Also, financial aid is now increasing faster than tuition prices, which is how the net price of college is decreasing slightly. College may not cost any more for students entering in 2011 than it did five years ago.
Stanford University, one of the nation’s most expensive colleges, recently approved a 3.5% tuition increase for the 2011-2012 school year, increasing its fee to $52,341, with $40,050 of it for tuition.
George Washington University, another one of the nation’s most expensive colleges, announced a 2.9% tuition increase for the 2011-2012 year, and its board of trustees capped the total cost-of-attendance increase at 2.7%.