Hot off the presses on November 4, 2015, the College Board has once again released its annual “Trends in Higher Education” report. What could be ascertained from the data is that states vastly differ in terms of what they charge students, but overall, trends are looking better for students in terms of overall costs. “There’s not some startling piece of information that comes out this year,” said Sandy Baum, a co-author of the reports. The best news was on the student loan front: borrowing has decreased for a fourth straight year, which can be tied directly to improving economic situations after the recession. The average federal student loan debt has gone down by $870 in that time span.
In addition, as the economy continues to rebound from the 2008 financial crisis, total Pell Grant disbursements are dropping. While expenditures increased from $16.5 billion in the 2004–2005 school year to $39 billion in 2010–2011, they declined in the 2014–2015 school year to $30.3 billion, a 22.3% decrease since the height of the economic collapse. The percentage of students receiving the Pell Grant peaked at 38% in the 2011–12 school year and has since dropped back down to 35%. This figure, however, is still 10 percentage points higher than it was a decade ago, when only a quarter of all students were Pell recipients.
An interesting fact for New England readers: New Hampshire came in with the highest in-state tuition and fees in the entire country at $15,160, with Vermont not far behind in 49th place at $14,990. New Hampshire also had the second highest percentage change of 16%—only Louisiana was higher. Maine was the biggest surprise, showing a 2% decrease in tuition over the last half decade, the only state to accomplish that feat. However, all six New England states were in the top 20 for costs in the higher education public sector. The lowest national costs were in Wyoming at $4,890 per year.
November 18, 2015
By: Jeff Megargell, HEAG Consultant