College costs come from non-tuition sources
Center for College Affordability and Productivity report finds textbooks, off-campus housing part of cost increase between 1999, 2009
About two-thirds of the increase in total college costs between the 1999-2000 and 2008-09 academic years came from non-tuition sources such as textbooks and off-campus housing, according to a study published yesterday by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
The data collected focused on the total price of going to college, which accounts for all the expenses students are required to pay. Researchers compared data from the U.S. Department of Education on public two- and four-year colleges and universities across the nation.
The study differentiates between net tuition, defined as the price students pay once scholarships and financial aid are taken into account, and net student price, which includes required fees and educational costs such as room and board.
"Tuition goes up a lot every year; the national average [is] $6,000," said Andrew Gillen, research director at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
Although tuition increases each year, "Net tuition isn't that high," he said. "It's actually been coming down because of financial aid."
He said the total cost of attending college is increasing, however.
Gillen said the current upward trend in total college cost is problematic because of the "affordability problem" facing the United States, as prices have risen while income has declined.
Jon Kates, executive director of the University Bookstore, said the University is acutely aware of the financial burden on students and tries to reduce the cost of textbooks.
"The issue ultimately is what college bookstores are doing to control price," Kates said. "We rent textbooks, sell tons more used books [than] in years past, we encourage faculty to get orders in on time so we can buy books back at the highest price ... [and] we encourage faculty to buy older editions."
Kates said keeping prices down in the current economy is difficult, but he noted that the University provides low-cost options for school supplies and clothing.