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Hot Off the Presses: College Board Releases New Figures on College Costs

Every year, The College Board surveys its more than 6,000 member educational institutions and releases the Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid reports, designed to provide a foundation of evidence to strengthen policy discussions and decisions on a federal level. Despite the fact that this information may be useful if you find yourself at a cocktail party with your lawmakers and representatives, for our purposes, this information provides an opportunity to look at where college costs might be headed.

This year's report provides some very interesting figures. All of us with children under the age of 18 are concerned about how we will ever pay for college. But this year's report makes a compelling argument that maybe, just maybe, we have bucked the trend. While not all of the statistics point in the direction we would like them to point, there is reason to be hopeful. The full report is 44 pages long and rich with data and analysis. Here are the highlights:

* Between 2013-14 and 2014-15, the average published tuition and fee prices increased by 2.9% for the in-state public college sector and 3.3% for out-of-state students in the same sector. The higher increase was at private non-profit four-year institutions, where there was a 3.7% increase.

* While all of this year's increases are higher than the 2.0% Consumer Price Index between July 2013 and July 2014, they represent the lowest annual averages in the past 5 years, 10 years, and 30 years.

* The increases in in-state published tuition and fees at public four-year institutions of 2.9% in 2014-15 and 2.8% in 2013-14 are the only increases since 1974-75 that have been less than 3% (not adjusted for inflation).

* About two-thirds of full-time students pay for college with the assistance of grant aid; many receive federal tax credits and deductions to help cover expenses.


* Between 2009-2010 and 2014-2015 the average net tuition paid (taking grant-in-aid and tax benefits into consideration) by in-state students at public four-year colleges increased by 33%. This follows a decline in net tuition paid over the previous five-year period.


* After increases as high as 9.5% beyond inflation in 2009-10 and 6.5% in 2010-11, average published tuition and fee prices for full-time in-state students at public four-year institutions increased by less than 1% in real terms in 2013-14, and again in 2014-15.


* Full-time students enrolled in private nonprofit institutions receive an average of about $18,870 in grant aid and federal tax benefits to help them pay for college. Average aid is about $6,110 at public four-year institutions and about $5,090 at public two-year colleges. These are the five-year averages.


* The One-Year % Change of Average Tuition and Fees has decreased each of the past five years, bottoming out in 2014-2015 at 0.8% for public four-year colleges and 1.6% for private nonprofit four-year institutions.

What do these numbers tell us? They tell us that we have seen a slowing of the increase in costs of college education over the past five years. Does that mean that you can wait to begin funding your child's education? Certainly not. Like every other investment, the longer the time horizon, the better the chance that you will achieve your goals.

A common pitfall I see is among parents with young children. These parents often think, "I have so many years to save, this is not today's problem." Wrong. College IS today's problem, for all of us with young children. And just like retirement, a plan is needed.

If you would like to discuss your college funding strategy or see more data from this survey, please do not hesitate to call and schedule an appointment. You can reach us at (732) 591-0909 or

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 Securities offered through American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC (FINRA/SIPC). American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. and American Portfolios Advisors, Inc. are not affiliated with any other named business entities mentioned.

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