Tuition burden falls by a third

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MtnBiker, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

    What students pay on average for tuition at public universities has fallen by nearly one-third since 1998, thanks to new federal tax breaks and a massive increase in state and federal grants to most students and their families.
    Contrary to the widespread perception that tuition is soaring out of control, a USA TODAY analysis found that what students actually pay in tuition and fees — rather than the published tuition price — has declined for a vast majority of students attending four-year public universities. In fact, today's students have enjoyed the greatest improvement in college affordability since the GI bill provided benefits for returning World War II veterans.

    What made the difference: a $22 billion annual increase in grants and tax breaks since 1998.

    That 80% jump in financial aid — targeting middle-class families earning $40,000 to $100,000 a year — has more than offset dramatic increases in tuition prices.

    "College still takes a big chunk out of most families' income. But the average student is much better off today than headlines would have you believe," says Sandy Baum, an economist who co-authors an annual report on college costs for the College Board, which oversees college entrance exams.

    USA TODAY analyzed what students paid for tuition and fees after grants, discounts, tax credits and deductions. Other studies focus on the listed price of tuition. But listed college tuition is like the sticker price on a new car: Few people actually pay it. In 2003, students paid an average of just 27% of the official tuition price at four-year public universities when grants and tax breaks are counted. Students at private universities paid an average of 57%.

    The USA TODAY analysis used figures from the College Board, the federal Office of Management and Budget and the Internal Revenue Service. All numbers were adjusted for inflation. The bottom line:

    • Average tuition paid at public universities fell 32% from $1,636 in the 1997-98 academic year to $1,115 in 2002-03. During that time, the published tuition price rose 18% to an average of $4,202. About three-fourths of the nation's 12 million college students attend public institutions.


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  2. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    TUITION RISES AS STATE SPENDING SLOWS: Costs for resident undergraduates at public universities have been rising at an accelerating pace. A key reason: Budget-strapped states have been less willing to chip in.
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  3. MtnBiker
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