Public Colleges Keep Hiking Tuition Costs And Financial Aid Can’t Keep Up

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Colleges keep hiking tuition costs and financial aid is not keeping up at a commensurate rate, according to studies released Wednesday.

College Board studies show that the net price paid by students for college — a price that accounts for financial aid and tax credits — rose during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years, reported The Washington Post.

In-state public university students paid average tuition and fees of $9,970 in fall 2017, a 3.1 percent spike from fall 2016. When accounting for room and board, these students paid an average of $14,490. Living expenses amount to an average of $8,070.

“It’s true that some people can live at home and live off their parents, but a lot of students are independent and have to pay for their own housing and food,” said Jennifer Ma, a College Board policy research scientist and co-author of the reports obtained by WaPo. “If they are going to school full time, they often can’t work full time.”

But tuition and fees do not outpace financial aid at private colleges because these schools set an artificially high price on tuition before giving large discounts to entice prospective students. Private colleges use approximately half of student tuition dollars for financial aid, according to a report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Frank Ballmann, a director of the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, suggested that an improving economy and low population growth in the Midwest and Northeast contribute to a decrease in financial aid provided by states.

“The number of high school seniors is declining in some states by as much as 5 percent,” Ballmann told WaPo. “That makes it harder to award any kind of aid…and to the extent that the economy is improving, that makes people a little less likely to qualify for need-based aid.”

Many public colleges make use of federal financial aid via Pell grants, with more than one-third of freshmen at some institutions receiving grants. (RELATED: University Of California Students Reap Tons Of Federal Financial Aid)

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the Department of Education for comment, but received none in time for press.

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