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Think Tuition Is Rising Fast? Try Room And Board

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Think Tuition Is Rising Fast? Try Room And Board

Post by Max on Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:13 am

Valerie Inniss took out $11,500 in student loans this year to pay for the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

None of it was for tuition.

The 21-year-old is on a four-year, full-tuition scholarship, won on the strength of her high school test scores. And she qualifies for the maximum federal Pell Grant — $5,730 — for low-income students.

But that and a campus job were still not enough to cover all her other costs and fees, from healthcare to books. The biggest expense? Nearly $11,000 for room and board, a charge that's risen 15 percent since she started college four years ago.

That breaks down to about $24 a day for food on the cheapest meal plan — an amount that's twice what the government says the average American spends per day on food. To share a room will cost $786 a month, which isn't that far below the median monthly rent for an entire apartment or house in America — $904 a month.

"I hate it. I absolutely hate it," Inniss says. "But there's nothing I can do about it because I value the education I'm getting here. It's a risk I'm taking."

In addition to steadily raising tuition, but with much less notice, public four-year universities have increased their charges for room and board by 9 percent above inflation in the past five years, according to the College Board. At private colleges, the price has gone up 6 percent above inflation.

Without the inflation adjustment, room and board fees at public colleges and universities have spiked by more than 20 percent since 2009. At private institutions, they're up 17 percent.

At public universities, that's as fast as the increase for tuition, which is up 21 percent in the same period. At private colleges, it's even faster; there, tuition has grown 13 percent.

"This is the untold story," says Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. "We focus on tuition but we should look at other costs, too," he adds, including the cost of room and board, which students in many remote university towns, including Amherst, have few choices but to pay.
The same is in our dear Country. May God Help Us
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