Cost to Go to College Hits New Record High

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Up, up and away! That seems to be the perfect description for the price of college these days.

A new College Board report reveals that the price of attending a four-year college in the U.S. has hit a new record high in 2016 — outpacing the growth of inflation, incomes and financial aid.

Still, a CNN Money report notes, the good news is that the cost of college is no longer skyrocketing like it did during the recession. For the current school year, CNN says, the average price rose slightly less than the increase of the year before.

According to the College Board’s annual report, the “sticker price” for in-state students to go to a public university this year is an average $20,090, which includes tuition and fees ($9,650), room and board. That reflects a 2.4 percent increase from the price tag in 2015.

However, most students don’t pay the published sticker price for college because they receive grants and scholarships. After accounting for that, the average net price for college this year is $14,210.

For private colleges, an increase of 3.6 percent brought the “sticker price” to $45,370, including tuition, fees, room and board — with an average net price of $26,080.

Over the past five years, the average total cost of attending a public university has risen 10 percent. At private universities, the cost has gone up even more — rising by 12 percent during the same five-year period. Meanwhile, family income has inched up just 7 percent since 2011. In a press release, report co-author Jennifer Ma, policy research scientist at the College Board, says:

“These increases [in net tuition and fees], combined with stagnant incomes for many families, raise concerns about ensuring educational opportunities for low- and moderate-income students.”

The report also reveals that families and students are borrowing less to pay for college today than in the past. Total borrowing for the 2015-2016 school year is $106 billion, a hefty 14 percent drop from peak borrowing — $124 billion — in 2010-2011.

What do you think of the cost of college today? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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