Rising tuition College costs: Increases mean students, parents will continue to pay long after studies are completed.

October 21, 1998

NO MATTER how you look at the latest statistics on rising college costs, parents are taking a hit in the pocketbook.

One headline read, "Price of college education is up 50 percent over a decade." Another noted that "College tuition rises 4 percent, outpacing inflation" and a third said simply, "College tuition continues to rise."

It's all true, true, true.

Over a decade, tuition rose a whopping average of 50 percent at four-year public colleges, to $3,243 this school year; and 40 percent at private institutions, to $14,508, according to the College Board. Calculated over one year, tuition was up 4 percent over 1996 at public universities and 5 percent at private schools.

To ease the pressure, a new law lowers and locks in the interest rate on student loans at 7.4 percent, down from 8 percent. In addition, financial aid increased 6 percent over last year. But the kicker is that most of the aid hike was for loans rather than grants, guaranteeing that students and families will still be saddled with debt long after studies end.

What it all means is college costs will continue to sock it to the purse. The lesson: Plan, save and try to use advance and other alternate payment options.

Pub Date: 10/21/98

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