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WEDNESDAY BUZZ: Education Department Releases Second Round of College Cost Lists

June 13, 2012


​The Department of Education yesterday released its second annual college cost lists. The department's intention is to provide families with more information about the actual price of college and to focus attention on institutions with rapid tuition increases.

The lists, which were mandated by the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act, are available here.

According to the data, the average sticker price at four-year public colleges rose 15 percent over last year, while some states saw increases of up to 40 percent. Inside Higher Ed pointed out this morning that the department this year is acknowledging the relationship between state funding cuts and increases in tuition rates at public institutions.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday that "state budget cuts were the most important factor in tuition increases in recent years."

"Obviously we're at a period of economic instability at the state level, so you'll see among public institutions the increases in tuition and fees are a lot of times a function of declines in state support," Bryan Cook, director of the Center for Policy Analysis at ACE, told the Associated Press. "So we've not been surprised in seeing increases in tuition."

There are six lists broken down by nine different institution types:

  • The top 5 percent of the most expensive institutions in terms of tuition and fees in the most recent preceding academic year for which data is available.
  • The top 5 percent of the most expensive institutions in terms of net price in the previous year.
  • The top 5 percent of institutions with the largest percentage increase in tuition and fees over the three previous years.
  • The top 5 percent of institutions with the largest percentage increase in net price over the three previous years.
  • The 10 percent of institutions with the lowest tuition and fees in the previous year.
  • The 10 percent of institutions with the lowest net price in the previous year.

This year the department also is providing tuition and net price information for all institutions, broken out by sector. A total of 4,165 institutions are included on the combined lists.

For additional coverage on the college cost lists, see the following;

State's College Tuition Rising Fastest in Nation
The San Francisco Chronicle (free reg. req.)


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