Tuition and fees at U.S. public universities and colleges have increased more than 8 percent in the 2011-2012 academic year as a weakened economy and severe cuts in state funding took their toll, a report released on Wednesday said.
In-state residents pay average 8,244 U.S. dollars in tuition and fees for public four-year universities and colleges, up 8.3 percent from last academic year, while out-of-state residents pay average 20,770 dollars, up 5.7 percent, according to the report released by the non-profit College Board.
Public two-year schools charged in-state residents an average of 2,963 dollars in the 2011-2012 academic year, up 8.7 percent, the report added.
The report said that this is the fifth consecutive year that the increase in average tuition and fees at public four-year universities and colleges was higher than their nonprofit private counterparts.
About 80 percent of U.S. undergraduates attend public universities and colleges. The increase in college tuition is more than double the inflation rate of 3.6 percent between July 2010 and July 2011, during which U.S. family earnings dropped across all income levels.
State funding per student declined by 4 percent in 2010, the latest year available, and 23 percent over the past decade, the report said. But a rise in federal student aid, including tax credits and deductions, helps ease the impact for most families.
About two-thirds of U.S. undergraduates receive grant aid, which averaged 6,539 dollars last year, and average federal loans averaged 4,907 dollars. Borrowing by students and parents increased about 2 percent, according to the report.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday unveiled steps to accelerate a plan to ease loan burdens of cash-strapped college graduates squeezed by a tough economy and a grim job market.
The plan, which will be effective next year instead of in 2014, will cap monthly payments of student loans for more than 1.5 million current college students and borrowers at 10 percent of their income. It will also forgive the balance of their debt after 20 years of payments, rather than 25 years under the current law.