Colleges Are Raising Tuition Rates This Fall Amidst Sky-High Inflation!

Daniella Cressman

Disclaimer: This information is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

People are already struggling to pay for gasoline, rent, and even food, but that hasn't stopped colleges from raising their tuition prices for the fall semester!

"College students across the country will see higher prices when they return to campuses in the coming weeks, the latest hit on families’ finances caused by inflation." —Joanna Nesbit

Unfortunately, many families simply cannot afford this increase given our country's current financial circumstances.

"The rise in tuition and fees may come as a surprise to families after many colleges kept tuition flat for the past couple years, helped in part by a government infusion of money during the pandemic. But now, with inflation at a 40-year high, families are caught in a perfect storm of increasing college costs just when they don’t have the means to cover them, thanks to higher consumer prices and decreased buying power." —Joanna Nesbit

Nonetheless colleges across the country are heightening the rates for student attendance.

"The latest tuition increase comes from Iowa, where regents for the state's three public universities voted Wednesday to pass a 4.25% tuition hike, an increase of $331 to $355 for the year, depending on the university. That vote comes days after Penn State trustees approved a 5% tuition increase for in-state students at its University Park campus this fall. Earlier this year, Boston University pointed to inflation as the reason for a 4.25% tuition hike, its largest in 14 years. The University of Southern California raised its tuition by 5% to about $63,468, while Syracuse University in New York voted in a 4.5% tuition increase." —Joanna Nesbit

The truth is that universities are not actually making this move to be malicious: Their operating costs have increased as well, thanks to inflation, so they need to raise the tuition in order to survive financially.

"Colleges are caught in the same bind as families, experts say: They, too, are managing increased operating costs — such as food and utilities, amid a 9.1% consumer inflation rate — along with increased healthcare and payroll costs. Some colleges froze or even reduced employee salaries for years to combat rising labor costs, and during the pandemic, they resorted to furloughs, reduced benefits and other moves to manage costs, says Marjorie Hass, president of The Council of Independent Colleges, an association of more than 700 private colleges and universities." —Joanna Nesbit

To make matters worse, some colleges have even heightened the student fees along with the tuition.

"At Western Washington University, for example, trustees approved the state’s maximum tuition increase of 2.4%, plus a 3.5% increase in room and board rates, a 17.9% increase in the Student Health Services Fee and 4% increases in two other mandatory fees." —Joanna Nesbit

That being said, this decision has not been made lightly, and many institutions of higher education have opted to maintain their tuition freezes, for now.

"Indeed, some universities are maintaining their tuition freezes for now. Purdue University is continuing a decade-long tuition freeze, while in Virginia, the governor asked public colleges not to raise tuition. At least 10 of them plan to comply, including William & Mary, according to a university spokesperson. Holding tuition flat for a fifth year in a row, William & Mary cites expected increases in higher education funding and budget adjustments as two ways the school plans to manage inflation without adding costs to student bills. (The University of Virginia, though, had already passed a 4.7% increase when the governor asked colleges to hold costs steady.)" —Joanna Nesbit

It's important to keep in mind that student scholarships and/or financial aid can significantly decrease the cost of a college education.

Thankfully, tuition discounting is at an all-time high.

"Data backs that up: A 2021 NACUBO study found that tuition discounting is at an all-time high, with an average 54% discount rate at private colleges. That’s essentially a 50% off sale for eligible students." —Joanna Nesbit

In short, it's crucial to plan for your children's college education well in advance: even if you do get a significant amount of aid, that might not cover the full tuition, and you'll still likely having to pay for housing expenses of some kind, student fees, and even travel back and forth over winter breaks and summer vacations if your kid is attending university out of state.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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