N.D., Minnesota colleges compare favorably to national trends for tuitionTuition at North Dakota and Minnesota colleges continues to rise, as it does around the country, but the good news is it’s not rising as quickly as in past years.
By: Tu-Uyen Tran, Grand Forks Herald
Tuition at North Dakota and Minnesota colleges continues to rise, as it does around the country, but the good news is it’s not rising as quickly as in past years.
That’s according to the College Board’s annual report, “Trends in College Pricing,” released Wednesday.
Adjusted for inflation, tuition at North Dakota’s four-year colleges rose 1.7 percent this school year compared with 2012-2013. In Minnesota, tuition actually fell by 0.9 percent.
Both compare favorably with national trends, which saw tuition rise 2.9 percent, which the College Board says is the smallest one-year increase in more than 30 years.
Tuition at public two-year colleges and private institutions rose but they also avoided big spikes, said Sandy Baum, co-author of the report. These more moderate increases could lessen concern that an annual rapid growth in tuition prices is the new normal.
“It does seem that the spiral is moderating. Not turning around, not ending, but moderating,” Baum said.
The College Board is a not-for-profit membership group that promotes college access and owns the SAT exam.
Though North Dakota colleges still pride themselves on lower than average tuition, the report indicates that four-year colleges are in the middle of the pack and two-year colleges are on the high end.
In-state tuition at four-year colleges now averages $7,265 a year, lower than the national average of $9,097, but still far from the lowest. The average among the three states with the lowest tuition — Wyoming, Alaska and Utah — is $5,398.
UND’s tuition this year is $7,508, the report said.
At North Dakota’s two-year colleges tuition averages $4,106, significantly more than even the national average of $3,264.
Tuition hikes have varied from year to year in North Dakota, according to College Board data. At four-year colleges, it has gone up as much as 6 percent in a year, but has averaged about 1.9 percent a year the past five years, adjusted for inflation. At two-year colleges, it has gone up 1 percent a year.
At UND, tuition hikes have averaged 1.5 percent a year.
Nationwide, the average annual tuition increase has been 5.4 percent for four-year colleges and 5.8 percent for two-year colleges.
Minnesota colleges are among the costliest. Tuition at two-year colleges averages $5,406, the fourth highest in the country and tuition at four-year colleges averages $10,468, the 12th highest.
The average annual tuition increase has been 3.1 percent for four-year colleges and 1.4 percent for two-year colleges.
Many students don’t actually pay full tuition, though. There are grants, tax credits and deductions that help ease the cost of going to college. About two-thirds of full-time students get grants, most from the federal government.
But, in the two years leading up to the 2012-2013 school year, the federal aid per full-time equivalent undergraduate student declined 9 percent, or about $325.
That means students have to foot more of the bill themselves.
“The rapid increases in college prices have slowed, however, students and families are paying more because grant aid is not keeping up,” said David Coleman, president of the College Board.
The average published in-state price for tuition and fees at a public four-year school is $8,893, but what students pay after grants, the average net price, is about $3,120. There were years this decade that saw the net price going down, but it has gone up the last two years.
Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, in a statement called it “troubling” that overall grant aid is not keeping up with prices. Her organization represents the presidents of U.S. colleges and universities.
“Institutions are committed to holding down costs, but it is equally important for state and federal governments to play their part to make college affordable,” she said.
The report spells out the large declines in state appropriations given to public institutions in recent years. These cuts have been blamed for rises in college costs.
College Board does not offer a year-to-year breakdown by states, but North Dakota’s funding for higher education in 2012-2013, the latest data the report offers, was among the highest.
For each full-time student at a four-year college, the state spent $8,687, the eighth highest in the country. Alaska and Wyoming, those states with the lowest tuitions, spent $17,253 and $15,101, respectively.
For every $1,000 of a North Dakota resident’s income, the state spent $9.87, the fifth highest. Alaska and Wyoming, again, were among the top five.
Minnesota spent $6,443 per full-time student or $5.22 per $1,000 of income, a bit below the national average, which was $6,646 and $5.42, respectively.
On the Web: To see the report, go to trends.collegeboard.org.
Tuition at colleges around the country continues to rise, according to a new report from the College Board. But they appear to not be rising as steeply as in recent years.
Here’s how North Dakota and Minnesota stack up with national averages in 2013-2014. The increase from 2012-2013 is in parentheses.
• Four-year colleges: $7,265 (+1.7%).
• UND: $7,508 (+1.5%).
• Two-year colleges: $4,106 (+1.5%).
• Private colleges: $15,847 (+2.3%).
• Four-year colleges: $10,468 (-0.9%).
• Two-year colleges: $5,306 (-1.2%).
• Private colleges: $34,497 (+1.3%).
• Four-year colleges: $8,893 (+2.9%).
• Two-year colleges: $3,264 (+3.5%).
• Private colleges: $30,094 (+3.8%).
Associated Press writer Kimberly Hefling contributed to this report.