NAICU Washington Update

Private College Tuition Increases Slow to Lowest Rate in at Least Four Decades

October 16, 2012

Published tuition and fees at the nation’s private nonprofit colleges and universities rose 3.9 percent for the 2012-13 academic year, the lowest rate in at least four decades, according to a new NAICU survey. At the same time, institutional student aid budgets at private colleges increased an average of 6.2 percent for 2012-13.

Of NAICU’s 960 member colleges and universities, 445 responded to this year’s survey of published tuition and institutional student aid increases. NAICU member institutions enroll 90 percent of the students who attend private nonprofit colleges and universities in the United States.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the percentage increase in published tuition has stayed below pre-recession rates, and the first time in at least four decades it has been below 4 percent.

From 2009-10 to 2011-12, average private college tuition increases ran in the mid-4 percent range, down from an average annual increase of 5.7 percent during the previous 10 years. This year’s 3.9 percent increase is the lowest NAICU has on record. (NAICU’s data goes back to 1972-73.)

This year’s average 6.2 percent increase in institutional student aid follows increases of 7 percent, 6.8 percent, and 9 percent in 2011-12, 2010-11, and 2009-10, respectively. The NAICU survey did not collect student aid figures prior to 2009-10.

“Students and families are increasingly price- and value-conscious,” said NAICU President David L. Warren. “Private college leaders are listening, and working hard to keep students’ out-of-pockets costs as low as possible and provide the best value for the tuition dollar.”

“Since the economic downturn, private colleges and universities across the nation have redoubled efforts to cut their operating costs, improve their efficiency, and enhance their affordability,” Warren said. “More will continue to be done by private institutions to stay affordable and within reach of families from all backgrounds.”

To read the full NAICU news release on this year’s tuition and student aid survey, click here.

Related story:

Private College Costs up Again but at Slower Rate,” Associated Press, Oct. 4

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