Cost of public colleges in Mo. higher than national average

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Missourians attending public two-year and four-year colleges pay more than the rest of the nation on average.

A report released Monday by the College Board says Missourians are paying an average of $6,845 a year to attend public four-year colleges and $2,520 a year to attend two-year colleges. The national averages are $6,185 and $2,361, respectively. The report is titled "Trends in College Pricing 2007." The figures are for the 2007-2008 school year.

Here are some key findings:

* Nationally, tuition is up 54 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars over the past decade, compared to 49 percent the preceding decade and 21 percent the decade before that.

* For private four-year colleges, Missouri's average cost for 2007-2008 is $20,671, a six percent increase over the previous year but under the national average of $23,712. Last year the Missouri average was $19,482.

* Missouri ranks 18th for highest tuition for public four-year colleges. Tuition was up 5 percent over the previous year's average of $6,526.

Thirty-four states had higher percentage increases; Hawaii ranked at the top with a 19 percent increase, while several states tied at the bottom with a 1 percent increase.

The national percentage change was 7 percent. Vermont had the highest tuition in that category at $10,428. Florida had the lowest at $3,361.

Students at Southeast Missouri State University will pay $5,925 this year. That is a 7.6 percent increase over last year's rate of $5,505. At the University of Missouri-Columbia, students will pay $8,170 and at Missouri State University $5,988, according to the universities' Web sites.

Peter McPherson, president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, said in a press release, "Leaders of America's public research universities continue to be concerned about the impact that the cost of attending college has on students and their families."

However, he concluded, "At the end of the day, our public research universities remain an excellent value for students, with a net cost of $2,600 for an average full-time student after student aid and tax benefits are considered."

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