Here is a chart by the Freakonomics guys about the rising cost of college tuition between 1978 and 2008:
|© 2011 Freakonomics, LLC|
The chart only shows private colleges, but I believe the figures are pretty much the same for public ones as well. And to take away your last hopes, although this chart only goes to 2008, it hasn't gotten any better in the last few years, particularly with all the cuts to state budgets. According to Freakonomics, here are the figures for college tuitions in 2011-2012:
The question nobody seems to be able to answer definitely is WHY college tuition is rising at three times the cost of living, higher even than our sky rocketing health care costs.
- The average published in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions was $8,244 in 2011-12, which is 8.3%, or $631, higher than in 2010-11. Average total for tuition, fees, room and board, were $17,131, up 6.0 percent.
- For out-of-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities, the published average was $20,770, which is 5.7%, or $1,122, higher than in 2010-11. Average total charges were up 5.2% to $29,657.
- The percentage increase was smaller, but the totals are still higher at private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities. The published tuition and fees averaged $28,500 in 2011-12, which was 4.5%, or $1,235, higher than in 2010-11. The total average charges were up 4.4% to $38,589.
- The average increase in published in-state tuition and fees at public two-year colleges was even higher. They totaled $2,963, which is 8.7%, or $236, higher than in 2010-11.The average increase in published in-state tuition and fees at public two-year colleges was even higher. They totaled $2,963, which is 8.7%, or $236, higher than in 2010-11.
- Holding the line at a mere 3.2% increase were the average published tuition and fees, which were estimated at $14,487 in 2011-12.
One silver lining to note, however, is that these figures are the PUBLISHED tuition and fees. In recent years, many, if not the majority, of students are actually paying substantially less than the published rate, at least for state and nonprofit four-year colleges, due to grants and scholarships and such. The Obama administration is now requiring colleges to post a calculator on their websites so families can input their income information and such, and get a better idea of the real costs they will be expected to pay. This at least allows students to better compare colleges on what their real, ultimate costs will be, not just to dismiss certain colleges on their published fees when they would probably be required to pay less.
But I don't think anyone has any good ideas about how to reign in these soaring increases in college costs.