The College Board released two reports yesterday—Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid—that illustrate how even when colleges increase their tuition and fees only modestly, student aid still doesn’t keep up.
Bridging the Gap
How well I remember what I called the gap. When my children were in college, they received some aid, but there was never enough. There was always a gap that had to be filled somehow—chiefly with my husband’s and my contribution and with loans.
My children received enough aid to entice them to pursue school—and frankly, I appreciate that. But for students who didn’t have two working, willing parents, the insufficient aid became a kind of false promise that led to their dropping out and being in debt.
And just last week I wrote about how nearly half (49%) of black borrowers default on their student loans 12 years after entering school. It’s not an insignificant problem.
Smaller but Still Steady Increases
Trends in College Pricing reports that for the past five years, four-year public colleges have increased their prices about 3% each year. The good news is that 3% increase is dramatically less than the one-year price increases of between 6% and 13% from the school year 2001–2002 and 2011–2012, and that private four-year schools and two-year colleges are also making modest increases.
Still, grant aid isn’t keeping up.
“The increases in the net prices students pay raise particular concerns for low- and moderate-income students,” says Jennifer Ma, co-author and senior policy research scientist at the College Board, in a statement. “Even when, as is often the case, these students receive enough grant aid to cover their tuition and fees, they frequently struggle to pay for their living expenses while in college.”
The Key Findings below are from the College Board.