Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tuition rises, but cost of living falls at UT Tyler

As most college students understand, saving money is everything.  College expenses will eat up 90% or more of one’s typical monthly income.  Be sure to buy the cheapest of every item while shopping for groceries.  However, according to recent information published by the US Department of Education, college tuition may be rising at a mostly steady rate, but the cost of living is actually starting to decline.

According to the US DoE report,  tuition and fees increased by about 4 percent at public and private four year colleges and by 5 percent at public two year colleges from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014.  In the cited National Center for Education Statistics report, the information was collected from almost 7,400 college institutions in the fall of 2013.

At the same time, it appeared that on-campus living rose at almost the same rate, but off-campus living expenses rose by less than 1 percent at public and private four year schools, and even fell by 1 percent at public 2 year schools.  What is perhaps more interesting, is that on the average, the cost of books, supplies, and other expenses including things like laundry and transportation, actually dropped from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014 at all types of four year institutions.

Specifically, the average cost of books and supplies fell by almost 2 percent at public universities, by less than 1 percent at private universities, and even by 9 percent at for profit private universities.  Regarding “other expenses,” the numbers were a little more complicated.  This category is dependent on many variables like whether or not the student lives on campus or off.  Regardless, the amount dropped by 4 percent at public universities and 3 percent at private universities.

So what does this mean? Well, on average, the cost of tuition and fees is steadily rising.  Fortunately, this year’s most recent increase was the lowest increase in over a decade.  Fortunately, there will not be an increase at UT Tyler.  In fact, UT Tyler is working on establishing programs that would keep tuition for students at a stable rate for a set 4 years of college attendance.  

So yes, on a national average, tuition is rising.  However, the numbers also seem to indicate that the cost of living at these universities is decreasing.  So while you may have to spend more to attend college, you will spend less while living there.  For this year, at least, your finances will remain mostly stable.  

What is important to remember, though, is that these are numbers being published by college officials, so it is highly dependent on where one attends school.  It is also possible, but not very viable that the officials who report these numbers are “cooking” their books to make it appear that things are cheaper when in reality they are not.  This is not likely, though, as students would quickly discover that they were being lied to.

Do you have an opinion? Think the officials are cooking their books? Let me know in the comments!


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