Tuition costs continued to rise steeply at both public and private universities across the country for the 2004-2005 academic year, at a rate that surpasses Yale’s 5 percent tuition hike this year, according to a report the College Board released Tuesday.
Average tuitions and fees increased on average this year by 10.5 percent at four-year public universities to $5,132, by 6 percent at four-year private universities to $20,082 and by 9 percent at public two-year colleges to $2,076. For the third year in a row, public institutions increased their tuitions and fees at a greater rate than private institutions.
Although Yale’s tuition increased at a smaller rate than the national average for private universities, the University’s tuition and fees for this year — totaling $29,820 — are markedly higher than the average of other four-year private institutions. Still, Yale’s percentage increases in recent years have been below those at other Ivy League schools and many state universities, Yale Vice President for Finance and Administration John Pepper said.
“We’ve been working very hard to keep them as low as we can, but at the same time, they’re a principal source of income, and we’ve still got a budget deficit to worry about,” Pepper said.
Sandy Baum, a senior policy analyst at the College Board and an author of the report, said one of the reasons Yale’s percentage tuition and fees increase was less than the national average for private universities is that Yale has a relatively large endowment, which this year hit $12.7 billion.
“Yale has a much bigger endowment than most colleges,” Baum said. “The fact is Yale can take a little bit more from their endowment so they don’t have the same financial constraints as some less-well-off private institutions have.”
Yale Financial Aid Director Myra Smith said rising tuition costs at Yale may impact the number of people who receive financial aid and the amount of aid received.
“If your cost goes up and the income or individual contribution doesn’t go up at the same rate, the need gets bigger, and the eligibility for aid goes up,” Smith said.
Tony Pals, spokesman for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said the average amount of financial aid students receive at private universities nationally has increased to keep up with rising tuitions.
“If you look at the last 10 years, you’ll see the percent increase in institutionally provided student aid has outpaced the percent increase in student tuition,” Pals said. “This year, on average, institutional aid went up 9 percent versus the 6 percent increase in tuition.”
Tuition costs are likely to continue increasing to meet rising costs universities face, such as health insurance for employees and technological investments, said Barry Toiv, spokesman for the Association of American Universities.
But Pals said private universities are making efforts to limit additional expenses in the face of increasing institutional costs.
“[Universities] are not spending lavishly,” Pals said. “It should be clear that [private] institutions are doing everything possible to keep the rate of their tuition increase down to 6 percent.”
Over the past decade, the average annual tuition increase at four-year private universities has ranged from 4 to 8 percent, according to the report.
“[Private] institutions were able to keep this year’s percentage increase on par with what we’ve seen in the past couple of years,” Pals said. “Overall nationally, it’s very likely that in coming years the rate of tuition increase will remain steady with what we’ve seen in the last 10 years for private institutions.”
Since 1994, average tuitions and fees have risen by 51 percent at four-year public universities, by 36 percent at four-year private universities and by 26 percent at two-year public colleges, the report found. With a number of Ivy League and private liberal arts colleges, New England is the most expensive region of the nation for higher education, with tuition and fees averaging $6,839 at public universities and $25,660 at private universities, according to the report.