Our Annual Report – Grad Costs Offset by Rising Financial Aid

Our Annual Report – Grad Costs Offset by Rising Financial Aid

Do you consider higher education a luxury, or a necessity? Food is a necessity, yes, and shelter, clothing.

In 2009-2010, students got $28 billion in Pell grants, and that’s $10 billion more than the year before.  When you look at how much students are actually paying, on average, it is lower, after adjusting for inflation, than five years earlier. - Sandy Baum, College Board economist

But what about your future? Is a degree a luxury, or a necessity? It depends upon your level of ambition, and your own view of your lifetime earnings potential.

Times are tough. Everyone knows that everything, in real dollars, is costing more and more. Including education, right?

Well, the anxiously-awaited College Board reports are in. And for everyone eager to acquire a college degree, there is good news and bad news.

As always, rising tuition is a given. Costs are up. Over the last decade, published tuition and fees (at public four-year colleges and universities) increased each year, at an average of 5.6 percent over inflation.

But a much deeper look into these reports is far more revealing.

First, let’s take a look at the bad— the rising costs of getting that degree.

In 2010, out-of-state students at public universities average of $19,595 in tuition, with total charges of $28,130, according to the report.
At public community colleges, published tuition and fees rose 6 percent, to an average of $2,713.
And at for-profit institutions, the report found, tuition and fees rose 5.1 percent, to an average of $13,935.

As their state financing dwindled, four-year public universities increased their published tuition and fees almost 8 percent this year, to an average of $7,605, according to the College Board’s annual reports.
When room and board are included, the average in-state student at a public university now pays $16,140 a year. At private nonprofit colleges and universities, tuition rose 4.5 percent to an average of $27,293, or $36,993 with room and board.

Rising costs of education.

But now let’s look at the good. Oh yes, even in this economy, there is good news.

There is a counter-acting force, coming to your rescue. Even in these hard times, increased tuition and fees are paced by an increase in federal financial aid.

2010 “Trends in College Pricing” and “Trends in Student Aid” reports that fast-rising tuition costs have been accompanied by a huge increase in financial aid.

In the last five years, the reports say, average published tuition and fees increased by about 24 percent at public four-year colleges and universities, 17 percent at private nonprofit four-year institutions, and 11 percent at public two-year colleges — but in each sector, the net inflation-adjusted price, taking into account both grants and federal tax benefits, decreased over the period.

The increase in federal support this year was so large that government grants passed institutional grants. In 2010, full-time students got an average of about $6,100 in grant aid and federal tax benefits at public four-year institutions, $16,000 at private nonprofit institutions, and $3,400 at public two-year colleges.

That’s up from 28 percent from 2009!

“We have to figure out how to educate students in a more cost-efficient way,” a College Board educator stated. “We haven’t yet figured out how to use technology to make it cheaper. But we will.”

So, what about distance learning?

If you factor in the enormous savings of studying from home, plus the increase in financial aid, getting that degree becomes even more affordable than before.

Bottom line— the actual amount that you will pay for your degree is lower.

Move forward, or keep falling behind. There will never be a better time for you to move ahead in your life!

Educate, educate, educate!

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