Report: Grant Aid Fails to Keep Up with Rising College Costs  


The net price of attending college continued to rise in 2017-18, while growth in grant aid slowed, national data shows.

The findings are highlighted in two reports — Trends in Student Aid and Trends in College Pricing — released last month by The College Board.

“The increases in the net prices students pay raise particular concerns for low- and moderate-income students,” report co-author Jennifer Ma said in a press release. “Even when, as is often the case, these students receive enough grant aid to cover their tuition and fees, they frequently struggle to pay for their living expenses while in college.”

In addition, data show that although reliance on student loans is higher than it was a decade ago, borrowing for college has declined over the past six years.

Other topline findings in the report include:

  • Annual increases in tuition and fees ranged from 2.9 percent to 3.6 percent this year. The 2017-18 average published tuition and fee prices at public two-year, public four-year, and private nonprofit four-year institutions were $3,570, $9,970, and $34,740, respectively.
  • Undergraduate students and parents borrowed 2 percent more (after adjusting for inflation) in 2016-17 than in 2006-07, but 18 percent less than in 2011-12. Graduate students borrowed 31 percent more in 2016-17 than in 2006-07, but 3 percent less than in 2011-12.
  • The number of Pell Grant recipients declined in 2016-17 for the fifth consecutive year, but the 7.1 million recipients represented a 38 percent increase from 5.2 million a decade earlier.

Read more about the findings.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at

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