Economists Say Education Costs Have Doubled Since 1990

By Debra Viadero — January 29, 2010 1 min read
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New data from the American Institute for Economic Research finds that the cost of education-related products and services has nearly doubled over the 20 years, growing three times the rate of the Consumer Price Index.

While the Consumer Price Index rose by 71 percent from 1990 to 2009, education costs grew by more than 200 percent. That rate is even higher than the cost increases found for health care and fuel over the same period, though we hear more often about the inflationary pressures in those economic sectors.

Bear in mind we’re not just talking about runaway tuition and fee increases at college and universities, although they do account for much of that increase. Tuition and fees at private elementary and high schools rose by more than 250 percent. The cost of educational books and supplies increased by more than 200 percent and fees for lessons and instruction grew more than 100 percent, according to the Barrington, Mass. research group.

The one bright spot for schools in this economic picture: The cost of personal computers and other information processing equipment dropped nearly 90 percent over the same time span.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.