Increased financial aid offsets tuition hikes nationally

Taryn Wobbema

NPR blogger Frank James delved into tuition today after a new College Board study reported an average 6.5 percent increases for in-state students at public four-year schools this academic year. Private four-year colleges averaged a 4.4 percent increase.

Such increases outpaced inflation which actually decreased in fiscal year 2009 (ended with September) by 1.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This means tuition has increased significantly faster than inflation, James wrote.

However, according to the College Board, the simultaneous increase in financial aid and tax credits has led to lower costs to students and parents. Over the past five years, tuition at public four-year institutions has increased by 20 percent. But, as a result of increased aid, costs for those public colleges and universities has actually decreased by $400 in that same time period, 2004-05 to 2008-09, according to the College Board.