College Costs Keep Rising, Report Says

In a report released this week by the College Board, and cited in the article below, four-year public colleges raised tuition and fees by an average of 6.5 percent last year, while prices at private colleges rose 4.4 percent. With room and board, the average total cost of attendance at a public four-year college is now $15,213, the report found. At private nonprofit colleges, which enroll about one in five college students nationally, the average total cost of attendance is now $35,636.

With college costs on the rise, it’s more crucial than ever for high school students to be prepared for college. Unfortunately, this often is not the case with numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showing 35.5% percent of all first and second-year undergraduate students doing remedial work. In another study by the Manhattan Institute, only 32% of 18-year-olds nationwide met the criteria for college readiness (2003). Even though education reform has made progress over the past 20 years with statewide coursework requirements in 42 states, “there is still a significant disconnect between high school and post-secondary sectors,” as documented by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, February 2005.

Fortunately, there are options: Students can start at a two year college and then transfer with financial aid to some of the best colleges in the country. Students can work for a year to save before they begin college. Students can start attending a state school and then transfer, or graduate from a state school and spend some amount of investment on travel and work in major cities and foreign countries. These economic times require that we all be creative about financing and experience that students will need to compete in the global world.

Here are questions to consider:

How can we implement more student success and transition programs in place nationwide to help bridge the gap between high school and college?

How can we more effectively challenge students to develop their academic, emotional and social skills and see the key role that education plays in their future success?

How can we help students to have a bigger stake in their own education so that they will make the most out of it?

New York Times

The price of a college education rose substantially last year, despite a 2.1 percent decline in the Consumer Price Index from July 2008 to July 2009. Hit hard by state budget cuts, four-year public colleges raised tuition and fees by an average of 6.5 percent last year. Prices at private colleges rose 4.4 percent, according to a report issued Tuesday by the College Board. Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, called the increases “hugely disappointing.”

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