U.S. College Tuition Price Increase are Slowing

Paying for your college education has never been easy, but recent reports in the news are good: tuition increases are slowing.

U.S. News reported on Oct. 23, 2013 that although college tuition prices have increased, it's been the lowest in almost 40 years. College students are now facing only a 2.9% increase, or an average of $247 to bring tuition costs up to $8,893—the smallest increase since the 1970s. However, nonprofit private colleges raised their tuition rates by 3.8% up to $30,094.

To put the increases in perspective, an in-state student going to a public university pays about $18,000 a year for tuition, room and board, while being out-of-state adds almost twice as much, bringing the total up to $32,000. Attending a private university spikes the costs even more, with a yearly average of about $41,000. Even a small, single-digit increase like the most recent one can mean paying almost a couple thousand dollars more per year to attend a school like Harvard or Yale, universities which have some of the highest tuition rates in the country.

While U.S. News reports that the cost of tuition is offset by grants and scholarships, the number of these that are handed out have been decreasing in recent years. Over the last two years, federal aid given to each full-time undergraduate student has declined by 9%, or $325. This leads to students having to more for more of their education themselves, leading to heavier financial burdens.

The L.A. Times writes that two-thirds of private university students are graduating with an average debt of $29,900, up 24% from more than a decade ago. The debt load was slightly less for public college students, with just over half (57%) carrying a $25,000 debt and that being 22% higher than graduates a decade ago. At a pay-back rate of $300 per month over 10 years, it's not an easy load to carry and any the smaller the increase, the better for college students, and the American economy.

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