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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas
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October 23, 2003

Average tuition for 2003-04 increased from last year by 14.1 percent at public four-year colleges, 13.8 percent at public two-year institutions, and 6 percent at private four-year colleges, according to The College Board's annual survey. A record $105 billion in student aid was awarded in 2003-04, an increase of 12 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars over last year.

The increase in public tuition was the largest in 30 years, a result of sharply lower state appropriations, a weak economy, and increasing enrollments, among other factors. Independent institutions continued to hold their tuition increases down, with annual increases rarely exceeding 5 to 6 percent.

Financial assistance from all sources has increased significantly both this year and over the past 10 years. Within the past decade, institutional grant aid has risen 122 percent, with other sources showing similar increases. This year, the federal government increased its student assistance contribution 11 percent, but 69 percent of the aid was in the form of loans. The average Pell grant rose only 3 percent in constant dollars because of an 11 percent increase in the number of Pell recipients from the previous year.

The full reports, Trends in College Pricing 2003 and Trends in Student Aid 2003 , can be found on The College Board's web site .