Trends in Higher Education Session at Forum Drew a Large Crowd—and for Good Reason
Trends in Higher Education Session at Forum Drew a Large Crowd—and for Good ReasonKristin Tobias, Assistant Director, Communications
Educators filled the room during the Trends in Higher Education session during College Board Forum. Each year, the College Board presents the hotly anticipated results of the College Board’s annual study of trends in college pricing and financial aid. The key findings, presented by report authors Sandy Baum of the Urban Institute and Jennifer Ma of the College Board, create a context for evaluating public policies designed to increase educational opportunities. Here are a few highlights:
Trend: Published college tuition and fees increased moderately between 2015-16 and 2016-17, but this increase was smaller than the year before.
What it means: The rapid price growth observed during the “Great Recession” has abated, which is typically what happens when the economy recovers.
Trend: The increase in published tuition outpaces growth in financial aid, family incomes, and average prices of goods and services.
What it means: “These increases, combined with stagnant incomes for many families, raise concerns about ensuring educational opportunities for low- and moderate-income students,” says Ma.
Trend: Though students are borrowing more than they were a decade ago, total education borrowing declined in 2015-16 for the fifth consecutive year.
What it means: The dramatic increases in aid awards we saw five years ago were the result of extreme economic circumstances, not harbingers of long-run changes in the way students pay for college.
Trend: Unlike undergraduate borrowing, graduate student federal borrowing rose in 2015-16, after a four-year decline.
What it means: This confirms the importance of focusing not only on the financing of undergraduate education, but also the financing of graduate education.
To read the full reports, visit our Trends in Higher Education website.