Tuition costs rose at a lower rate than in past years at public and private institutions nationwide, according to a report released last week by the College Board.

For four-year public institutions, the average tuition and fees rose 6.6 percent — a significantly smaller increase than last year’s 10.5 percent for public colleges and universities.

Yale’s tuition increased by 5.5 percent this year to $41,000 for the 2005-2006 academic year after increasing by 5 percent in 2004, while the average cost of tuition and fees at four-year private institutions nationwide jumped 5.7 percent to an average of $29,026.

Yale Provost Andrew Hamilton said Yale’s tuition has steadily increased for a variety of reasons.

“The major factors that affect the tuition increase were the many significant pressures on the University operating budget,” Hamilton said. “These include the increase in utilities costs, the increase in financial aid, the improvement in dining hall offerings and the investments being made in the renovation of our facilities.”

But as tuition increases, the amount of financial aid the University provides rises as well, Yale Director of Financial Aid Caesar Storlazzi said.

“This office has no control over tuition,” Storlazzi said. “There is always a connection between the cost of tuition and the cost of scholarships — as one rises so too the other must rise as well.”

The rate of tuition increase nationwide is leveling off, said Sandy Baum, senior policy analyst at the College Board. Last year, tuition increased by 6 percent at four-year private institutions, according to last year’s College Board report.

“Tuition will almost certainly continue to rise more rapidly than the consumer price index, but the double-digit percentage increases we saw in recent years will probably not return until the next recession — whenever that is,” Baum wrote in an e-mail.

–Josh Duboff