After decades of rampant growth, the rate of tuition increases at U.S. colleges and universities has slowed for the second academic year in a row, but government aid has fallen, continuing a cycle of rising costs and debt for American students.
Published tuition and fees rose 2.9% for in-state students at four-year public schools, the smallest one-year increase since 1975-76. At private schools, tuition and fees rose 3.8%, a bit lower than in recent years, according to a report from the College Board, a New York nonprofit that tracks university costs.
“The news in terms of college price increases is that it does seem the spiral is moderating, not turning around, not ending, but moderating,” said Sandy Baum an economist at the College Board.
After adjusting for aid, students attending public four-year institutions this academic year are paying an average of $12,620, up $220 from last year, for tuition, room and board. Private-school costs rose $700, to $23,290.
The continued rising costs come as student debt has topped $1 trillion and the default rate on student loans has risen for six straight years. One in 10 students now defaults within two years of starting repayment, according to Department of Education figures released earlier this month.