The College Board released the Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid 2011 reports yesterday, and they’ve gotten quite a bit of attention throughout the higher education world (see coverage in Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle, and NAICU President David Warren’s statement on the reports here). The Trends reports confirm what many are already painfully aware of: despite colleges’ efforts to control costs, sticker prices continue to rise faster than inflation in all sectors. However, the increases are most acute in the public sector, largely due to the combination of a weak economy and declining state support.
According to the report, published tuition and fees at public 4-year universities increased by an average of 8% nationwide. (In Kentucky, the increases were not as drastic as the Council on Postsecondary Education capped tuition increases at public 4-yr. institutions at 5% for comprehensives and 6% at the research institutions.) Nationally, private nonprofit college and university tuitions and fees increased by 4.5%, while AIKCU institutions’ sticker prices rose by 4.7%.
The College Board takes great care to explain that most students do not pay these published sticker prices, and the Trends in Student Aidreport details the increasingly important role that student financial aid, in all its forms, plays in helping students and families afford a postsecondary education. At AIKCU institutions, nearly 100% of students receive some form of financial aid.
Kentucky’s independent colleges continue to try and mitigate the effects on students and their families by increasing the institutional resources they dedicate to student financial aid. The most recent data we have from the National Center for Education Statistics (from fiscal 2009) indicates that AIKCU institutions discount tuition by 39% on average, providing their students with more than $180 million in financial aid.
And as the graphic below indicates, AIKCU’s average tuition remains significantly lower than the national and southern regional averages.