Smart Saving for College

College Costs

 

College Costs Are Rising—Are You Keeping Pace?


We all know that college costs are rising. For 2009–2010, The College Board® reports that the average cost for tuition and fees at private four-year colleges (non-profit) is $26,273, up 4.4 percent over last year. Although the $7,020 average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public college is a lot less, these costs are up 6.5 percent from last year. In the past 10 years, the average inflation-adjusted cost of tuition and fees has risen by 28 percent at private four-year colleges and just under 50 percent at four-year public colleges.1

If college costs were to increase 5 pecent per year, in 10 years the average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year private college would be $42,796 each year, and the average cost at a four-year public college would be $11,434. That's a four-year total of more than $171,000 for a private college and nearly $46,000 for a public school—and this is just tuition and fees! For 2009, The College Board® reports that room and board charges average $9,363 at four-year private colleges and $8,193 at four-year public colleges.

Average Cost of Four Years of College

Source: Trends in College Pricing 2009, The College Board®. Assumes a 5 percent increase in college costs each year and a child entering college at age 18.

But don't despair. While college costs are rising, many colleges still remain affordable. The College Board® reports that 33 percent of full-time students attending a four-year public college pay less than $6,000 in tuition and fees, and 87 percent of students attending a public college pay less than $12,000.

So college is still within reach for most families, but especially for those that start saving for it early.


1 Trends in College Pricing 2009, The College Board®.

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