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Tuition rising – Surge in endowments

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Tuition and fees at colleges and universities in the U.S. grew faster than inflation last year, despite record returns on investments from endowments at some schools, The New York Times reported Oct. 17.

The cost of four-year colleges grew by 5.2 percent at private schools and 4.4 percent at public schools, with the average increase totaling 5 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Times said.

Increases in tuition ranged from 3.4 percent at two-year community colleges to 7 percent at two-year private colleges, according to a College Board report released Oct. 16.

The tuition hikes were offset partly by a 4 percent boost in total financial aid from government and private sources.

At the same time, some universities, led by Harvard, are reporting record returns on endowment investments, and noncompetitive research grants, known as “pork-barrel” projects, exceeded $1 billion this year for the first time, the Times said.

University presidents said the tuition increases, which exceeded the 3.1 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index over the last year, were the result of increasing costs of energy and health care, of revamping computer equipment and equipping dorms for high-speed Internet access.

But others say the steady boost in college costs reflects the laws of supply and the steady demand for access to higher education.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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