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Tuition Up 10% at Public Colleges This Year, Report Says

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Students are paying more to attend higher-education institutions this academic year, but the rate of tuition increases is slightly lower than that experienced by students in academic year 1991-92, according to the College Board.

The average tuition at two- and four-year public institutions rose 10 percent between academic years 1991-92 and 1992-93--to $1,292 and $2,315, respectively--the board announced last week.

Those 10 percent increases compare with increases of 13 percent for two-year public colleges between academic years 1990-91 and 1991-92, and 12 percent for four-year public colleges between those years.

Meanwhile, the average tuition at two-year private colleges rose by 6 percent, to $5,621, between academic years 1991-92 and 1992-93, while the average tuition at four-year private colleges rose by 7 percent, to $10,498, the board said.

Those increases match those experienced between the previous academic years.

"Given the state of the economy and its impact on state budgets, many people expected much larger increases this year, particularly in the public sector,'' Donald M. Stewart, the president of the College Board, said in a statement.

Dramatic Cutbacks

Nevertheless, the news comes amid reports that institutions across the country are scaling back their academic offerings, laying off faculty members and staff, and trimming costs in other ways to comply with cuts in state budgets.

James B. Appleberry, the president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said that tuition increases at state institutions did not reach last year's levels because states are taking dramatic steps to keep the increases as low as possible.

"The bad news is that this lower rate of increase is coming at the expense of access,'' he said. "Institutions are managing to lower the rate of increase in tuition by eliminating programs, cutting administrative faculty and staff, increasing faculty teaching loads, increasing class size, and, in some cases, capping enrollment.''

An AASCU survey complements the College Board's findings. That organization reported this month that early estimates on state college costs indicate an overall tuition increase of 9.8 percent for this academic year, compared with an increase of 13.6 percent for academic year 1991-92.

Each year the College Board, which represents 2,800 member institutions, conducts its college-cost survey and tracks the rates of change in tuition. This year, 2,181 of the nation's higher-education institutions responded to the board's survey.

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