An analysis of newly available information on the prices families actually pay for college finds that the costs have increased by a larger amount for poor students than for wealthy ones in recent years.
The Education Writers Association, The Hechinger Report, the Omaha World Herald, and The Dallas Morning News partnered to examine new federal data that colleges are now required to report on the “net price” of attendance—the bottom-line cost once all state, federal, and institutional scholarships and grants are deducted from published tuition, room, board, and other expenses.
From 2008-09 to 2011-12, the net price for college increased for all students by an average of $1,100 at public institutions and $1,500 at private ones, according to U.S. Department of Education data. At private, nonprofit universities, costs rose by $1,700 for students in the lowest income group over that period, by $1,200 for those from the wealthiest families, and $850 for middle-income families. Public university costs rose by 17 percent to $1,380 for the lowest income families and 11 percent or $1,950 for the wealthiest.
A version of this article appeared in the March 26, 2014 edition of Education Week as Higher Education