Cost of attending a private college increases 7%, for a public college, 10%

October 14, 1992|By Boston Globe

The cost of attending private colleges and universities rose an average 7 percent this year, while tuition and fees at public colleges and universities shot up an average 10 percent, according to the College Board's annual survey of the price of higher education.

For the private institutions, where price tags for tuition, room and board are now approaching $25,000 a year, the increase is relatively modest compared with the double-digit increases of the 1980s. But the public institutions, strained by fiscal crises in many states during the past few years, continue to rely on bigger student charges to keep them afloat.

"Given the state of the economy and its impact on state budgets, many people expected much larger increases this year, particularly in the public sector," said College Board president Donald M. Stewart.

At private four-year colleges and universities, the average price for tuition and fees is $10,498 this year, an increase of 7 percent over last year, according to the College Board survey. That is about the same level of increase from the previous year. At private two-year colleges, tuition and fees average $5,621, an increase of 6 percent over last year.

Tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities average $2,315, while the price of public two-year institutions is $1,292. In both cases, that is a 10 percent increase over last year. The year before, tuition and fees rose 13 percent.

The College Board calculates increases in tuition and fees alone. For most students, the actual annual cost of attending colleges and universities includes charges for room and board, which rose between 4 and 5 percent in both the private and public sector.

The total cost of attending Harvard, for example, including tuition, fees, room and board, is $23,514 for one year. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology costs $23,565, while the annual tab at Wellesley College is $22,900.

The highest-priced private institution is Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., with a $24,380 annual bill, according to the College Board survey. The highest-priced state school is the University of Vermont, which charges in-state students $10,006 for tuition, fees, room and board.

Richard Rosser, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Washington, said that institutions are facing "extraordinary pressures" to increase tuition and fees much higher than they did.

Institutions face huge financial burdens for maintenance, health benefits for employees and especially financial aid, Mr. Rosser said. They have been forced to delay salary increases, defer maintenance and put off purchases because of the money crunch, he said.

Public colleges and universities, which have always had much lower tuitions than their private counterparts, are in the same financial squeeze but have had more latitude to increase student charges to make up for sharp budget cutbacks.

Average charges for undergraduates this fall

Two-year public: Tuition and fees, $1,292; no room and board; other expenses, $502.

Two-year private: Tuition and fees, $5,621; room and board, $3,750; other expenses, $1,895.

Four-year public: Tuition and fees, $2,315; room and board, $3,526; other expenses, $2,230.

Four-year private: Tuition and fees, $10,498; room and board, $4,575; other expenses, $1,954.

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