NAICU Washington Update

NAICU Survey Points Toward Lowest Tuition Increase in at Least 37 Years

April 09, 2009

An ongoing survey of private colleges and universities is finding that next year's tuition increases are at historical lows, and are being outpaced by increases in institutional student aid.

Based on the 280 private colleges and universities that have so far reported their 2009-10 tuition and student aid data to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the average increase in tuition and fees is 4.2 percent - the lowest annual increase in at least 37 years, and close to the 2008 Consumer Price Index rate of 3.8 percent. 

The average increase in institutional student aid budgets for 2009-10 at these institutions is 9.2 percent.  Of those reporting, 92 percent say they are increasing their student aid budgets this year.  NAICU will close its tuition and student aid survey in late April.

"It's clear that a broad mix of innovative affordability measures will continue to spread, as private colleges respond to market demand, and redouble their efforts to keep student out-of-pocket costs as low as possible. Our institutions are committed to maintaining access, and are facing stiff competition, during these tough times," said NAICU President David L. Warren.

Private institutions have been announcing a wave of new campus affordability measures for 2009-10, such as:

  • Policies that replace loans with institutionally provided grants for low- and middle-income families
  • Tuition freezes and cuts
  • Matching the price of local public universities
  • Three-year bachelor's programs

These and other affordability initiatives are posted and regularly updated on the NAICU Web site.

NAICU's data on tuition increases goes back to the 1972-73 academic year.  Including 2009-10, the average increase in tuition and fees at private colleges has been below 5 percent four times.  Over the past 10 years, the average annual increase in tuition has been 6 percent.

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