Reuters/Issei Kato
An arm and a leg.

Students will pay an astronomical amount for university in the US in 2018

By Amy X. Wang

College freshmen in America these days are laden with more than hefty textbooks and course catalogs—for the cost of a degree continues to rise, according to a pair of College Board reports released yesterday.

The reports, on college pricing (pdf) and student aid (pdf), find that the average published tuition and fees prices for the 2017-18 academic year are up once more—at modest rates of under 2% this time around, but still outpacing inflation—while financial aid is not. The average annual cost of a private, nonprofit, four-year education is now $34,740; it’s $9,970 for public four-year institutions and $3,570 for public two-year colleges. Net prices for full-time students have now increased for six to eight straight years, depending on the sector.

Such jumps are moderate compared to those made in the years right after the recession: In 2009-10, private and public schools hiked their tuition and fees by 6% and 10%, respectively, for example. But the continuous increase in college sticker price adds pressure to the crisis that’s been plaguing higher education for decades: with diplomas so necessary for work in the modern world, how can schools—expensive, laborious operations, full of high-paid faculty members and costly research projects—stay affordable and accessible?

Research finds that the cost of a degree currently isn’t earned back until age 34.

Individual schools all over the country are experimenting with ways to offer a cheaper degree, such as incorporating online learning or cutting overhead and amenities. The hope is that one day, solutions can be implemented on a mass scale.

Until then, high-school students and parents who tossed aside those financial aid forms the first time around may want to take a second look—or consider, more broadly, what else is out there.