NEW YORK - Tuition and fees at private, nonprofit U.S. colleges rose 3.6 percent in 2013-2014, the smallest increase in more than 40 years, as families struggle to afford college costs.
The increase was the lowest since at least the 1972-73 year, according to data published Thursday by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, collected from 510 schools.
Curbing the cost of college has become an issue for President Barack Obama, who in August called for a new way to link federal financial aid to a U.S. government rating system looking at college expenses and performance. Cost increases had declined to the mid-4 percent range over the last four years compared with almost 6 percent a year during the previous decade, according to the Washington trade group.
“During the past five years, private colleges and universities across the nation have redoubled efforts and implemented innovative initiatives to cut their operating costs, improve their efficiency and enhance their affordability,” David Warren, president of the group, said in a statement.
Published tuition and fees for the last academic year was an average of about $29,000 at nonprofit colleges and universities, according to the College Board.