A new college pricing survey released Wednesday shows a slowing of rising costs nationally but some areas like Long Island, New York rose higher than the national average, according to Newsday yesterday.
The College Board's Trends in Higher Education series, Education Pays 2013, shows the importance of higher education for future success. Its 30th annual report includes Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid. They reveal that costs are still rising but a bit slower and students and their families are shouldering more of the costs to earn a diploma.
Survey results nationally
The College Board states its Trends in College Pricing, “provides information on changes over time in undergraduate tuition and fees, room and board, and other estimated expenses related to attending colleges and universities.” The latest issue includes data from its 2013-14 Annual Survey of Colleges.
This year the Trends in College Pricing showed rising costs slowed to a 2.9 percent tuition and fee increase on average for public four-year colleges and universities, 3.8 percent increase for private nonprofit four-year schools, and 3.5 percent increase for public two-year colleges.
Long Island facts
Five Long Island (LI) private colleges exceeded the 3.8 percent national average for private colleges:
- 6 percent at New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury
- 5.3 percent at Molloy College, Rockville Centre
- 5.1 percent at Adelphi University, Garden City
- 4.1 percent at Dowling College, Oakdale
- 4 percent at Hofstra University, Hempstead
Three LI public State University of New York (SUNY) four-year schools exceeded the 2.9 percent average cost rise:
- 6.4 percent at Stony Brook University
- 4.9 percent at Farmingdale State College, Farmingdale
- 4.5 percent at College at Old Westbury, Old Westbury
One LI two-year public SUNY showed a rise well above the 3.5 percent average cost:
- 6.2 percent Nassau Community College, Garden City
Trends may not reflect student's actual college costs. Parents and students must do their research. Here are 5 main things parents and students should consider about reported college cost increases:
1. Net Price The cost increases in the report are based on college sticker price and not the net price rate which subtracts financial aid and scholarships awarded to admitted students. Therefore, when comparing costs, parents and students should do the math to calculate costs based on estimates of projected aid awards for that student. Use a school’s Net Price Calculator on its website, the federal FAFSA4Caster, and research each college’s history of meeting the financial need for its admitted students. Note that merit awards are the most difficult to predict since they are often based on the student's qualifications in comparison to other applicants.
2. Loans The College Board’s Trends in Student Aid finds students and families are being asked to pay more as costs increase and grants (free money that does not have to be paid back) decrease in the still weak economy. The Report found over the last decade, a 69 percent increase in federal undergraduate and graduate student loan borrowers with the average annual amount borrowed increased by 6%, from $7,900 (in 2012 dollars) in 2002-03 to $8,350. The amount a particular student needs to pay for college can be much more.
3. Affordability Parents and students must be be smart educational consumers. "A college education is an unparalleled investment, but there is no college opportunity without college affordability," said College Board President David Coleman.
4. Choices Some schools may be higher than national average rising costs and others lower. Check each school's current costs and percentage increases. For example, some Long Island schools sported tuition and fees increases below the national average. Two private colleges, LIU Post in Brookville and St. Joseph's College in Patchogue, bested the national average of 3.8 percent, with 3.7 percent and 3.6 percent rise, respectively, according to Newsday. Also, two-year public SUNY Suffolk County Community College’s increase of 3.2 percent increase was below the 3.5 percent national average.
5. Net cost Slowing of rising costs is important because parents and students must be prepared to afford college for many years. Most students who graduate take between four and six years to earn a diploma. The higher college costs are now, the greater they will be in future years as percentage increases are based on higher and higher base tuition and fees.
For example, take a hypothetical school holding steady with three percent annual increases on a current $30,000 worth of tuition and fees. The second year’s tuition would rise $900 to $30,900. Adding three percent increase to this new amount for year three increases price by $927 to $31,827. Year four would see a $954.81 jump to $32,781.81. By year six, tuition and fees have bumped up to up to $34,778.22, almost $5,000 more than the freshman year.
Costs will increase - higher with higher percentage increases and lower with lower percentage increases, so percentage increases matter.
Warning: This doesn't count the college costs and increases for books, supplies, transportation, room, board miscellaneous personal expenses and hidden costs.
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