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The state of U.S. higher education

October 30, 2008 by Joshua Wright

The global economic downturn is starting to affect higher education in the U.S., specifically when it comes to endowments, Reuters news service reports. Meanwhile tuition is continuing to grow at a rapid clip.

– For the nation’s public universities, which educate three out of four students, state subsidies covered a little over half of their budget costs last year, down from two-thirds in 1998. Tuition has grown to cover more than a third of their budgets, up from one-fifth 15 years ago.

– Tuition, room and board at private four-year schools in 2007-2008 averaged $31,019, up 7 percent from two years ago after adjusting for inflation. The cost of public schools was $16,758 for in-state students, $24,955 for out-of-state students, up 5 percent in the last two years after inflation.

– Federal loan aid for higher education increased 60 percent between 1996 and 2005. Students borrowed $77 billion last year to pay expenses to attend colleges and universities. Two out of three students received grants — discounts on tuition — averaging $9,300 at private schools and $3,600 at public schools.

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