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New study highlights out-of-pocket cost increases in most of higher education

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According to a new federal report just released, students are paying more immediate out-of-pocket costs to attend public and private colleges than their counterparts in the recent past. The report, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study from the U.S. Department of Education, is a study done every four years.

Students in the 2011-12 academic year paid on average $800 more out-of-pocket net costs -- a college’s sticker price minus all financial aid received – at four-year public and not-for-profit private universities, compared with their counterparts in 2007-8. At community colleges, the average increase was $400.

One sector to see a reversal -- a decrease – between 2011-12 and 2007-8, was the for-profit private segment of higher education. The average out-of-pocket net price across all for-profit private institutions dropped from $11,500 to $9,900, in adjusted for inflation dollars. The bottom line though is that the out-of-pocket net price at for-profit two-year institutions was more than double that of two-year public institutions in 2011-12.

The amount of money students must pay directly while attending college essentially denotes the out-of-pocket net price. This amount does not include loan value that must be repaid or the resulting debt of such loans.

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