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College Costs Increase for 2014/2015

Background

Every year, the College Board releases its Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid reports that highlight current college costs and trends in financial aid. While costs can vary significantly depending on the region and college, the College Board publishes average cost figures, which are based on its survey of nearly 4,000 colleges across the country.

Following are cost highlights. Total cost figures include tuition and fees, room and board, and a sum for books, transportation, and personal expenses. Together, these expenditures are officially referred to as the "total cost of attendance."

Public colleges (in-state students)

  • Tuition and fees increased an average of 2.9% to $9,139
  • Room and board increased an average of 3.2% to $9,804
  • Total average cost* for 2014/2015: $23,410 ($22,826 in 2013/2014)

Public colleges (out-of-state students)

  • Tuition and fees increased an average of 3.3% to $22,958
  • Room and board increased an average of 3.2% to $9,804
  • Total average cost* for 2014/2015: $37,229 ($36,136 in 2013/2014)

Private colleges

  • Tuition and fees increased an average of 3.7% to $31,231
  • Room and board increased an average of 3.4% to $11,188
  • Total average cost* for 2014/2015: $46,272 ($44,750 in 2013/2014)

Keep in mind that these are average cost figures. The total cost for the most selective private colleges is substantially higher--over $60,000 per year.

Debt trends

For the Class of 2013, about 7 in 10 students graduated with an average of $28,400 in loans (Source: The Institute for College Access and Success, Student Debt and the Class of 2013, November 2014). This compares to $27,850 for the Class of 2012. About one-fifth of the Class of 2013's debt consisted of private loans, which typically offer fewer repayment options than federal student loans.

The report went on to note: "For many 2013 graduates, their college years came during a time of increasing college costs and stagnant family resources. State budget cuts led to sharp tuition increases at many public colleges, increasing students' need to borrow....Multiple factors influence average college debt levels, such as endowment resources available for financial aid, student demographics, state policies, institutional financial aid packaging policies, and the cost of living in the local area."

However, the report also noted the strong employment and earnings prospects for those with college degrees compared to adults with only a high school education.

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Kenneth S. Rakes has 25 years of experience in public accounting and is a graduate of John Carroll University. Ken provides tax planning and preparation services for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, and trusts. Ken is a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) providing retirement, estate, investment, insurance, and education planning for individual clients with an emphasis on the tax implications of planning decisions. Ken's other areas of expertise include: Manufacturing, Wholesale, Retail and Service Industries, Non-Profit Organizations and Sub-Chapter "S" Corporations.