College tuition is now rising at a rate lower than inflation

The cost of college increases more and more every year.

However, amid continuing low enrollment rates due to Covid, this year’s tuition and fee increases are very low by historical standards, according to a report from the College Board, which tracks trends in college pricing and student assistance.

For the 2021-22 school year, average tuition and fees increased 1.3% to $3,800 for students in two-year schools, 1.6% for in-state students at public four-year colleges, to $10,740, and 2.1% for four-year students . One year for private institutions, $38,070.

Adjusted for inflation, average tuition and fees fell across the board. (The latest inflation numbers jumped 5.4% year over year.)

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“Some institutions and countries are keeping tuition fees flat this year,” said Jennifer Ma, senior policy researcher at the College Board and co-author of the report.

Ma said that in 15 states, average tuition at two-year schools hasn’t risen at all. In three states, average student tuition at public four-year colleges has also remained flat.

However, college costs have already reached unsustainable levels, many experts say.

During the Great Recession, the decline in government aid to public and private colleges and universities led to higher tuition fees. Today, tuition fees account for about half of college revenue, while state and local governments provide the other half.

But for nearly three decades, the split has been much different, with tuition providing only a quarter of the revenue and state and local governments getting the rest.

Because so few families can handle the burden, they have increasingly turned to federal and private aid to help pay bills, pushing outstanding student debt to $1.6 trillion.

However, in response to the economic shock caused by the pandemic, the federal government has authorized $74.8 billion to higher education institutions and students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

This provided enough support for schools to keep tuition fees largely flat, and set aside at least half of the funds to award financial aid to students.

As a result, average grant aid is rising and student loans have fallen, Ma said. “It will be interesting to see if this trend continues.”

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