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NACUBO Releases New Perspectives Piece on College Tuition and Fee Prices and Institutional Grants

December 2, 2010

According to a recent article in Business Week magazine, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) seasonally adjusted price index for "College Tuition and Fees" increased 92 percent from 2000 to 2010. In NACUBO's most recent edition of Perspectives, James L. Doti, president of Chapman University, argues that comparing annual college cost increases with the rate of inflation not only misrepresents the facts but also perpetuates the belief that all postsecondary institutions are actively engaged in pricing strategies that make higher education increasingly unaffordable. In his Perspectives piece, "College Tuition and Fees at Independent Institutions: The Real Facts," Doti points out that the BLS statistics and other traditional measures that compare college price increases with the rate of inflation do not fully account for institutionally funded scholarships. Using data from the 2009 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Survey, he proposes developing other measures that could more accurately give a complete picture of what undergraduates and their families actually pay to attend four-year private non-profit colleges and universities.

NACUBO's Perspectives series offers points of view on critical and emerging issues in higher education, written by senior business officers and other leaders in the academy. In brief essays, these thought leaders go beyond theory to offer practical applications and potential solutions to issues faced by campus administrators. Published online by NACUBO and available free of charge, this occasional series offers an opportunity for robust dialogue about significant issues.

Visit the Perspectives series page to learn more and to download the other essays in the series.


Ken Redd
Director, Research and Policy Analysis