WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Led by a 21 percent hike in California, tuition at U.S. four-year public colleges and universities increased 8.3 percent this year, a report says.
The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center said tuition at Arizona state institutions was up 17 percent and 16 percent in Washington State for the 2011-12 school year. At the other end, tuition in Connecticut and South Carolina rose about 2.5 percent.
Around 10 percent of the state college and university students in the country are in California, so increases there have a disproportionate effect on the national average. Tuition in the other 49 states rose an average of 7 percent.
Tuition at public two-year colleges was up 8.7 percent or 7.4 percent excluding California.
This year was the fifth consecutive one with tuition increases at public colleges higher than those at private institutions.
"While the importance of a college degree has never been greater, its rapidly rising price is an overwhelming obstacle to many students and families," College Board President Gaston Caperton said. "Making matters worse is the variability of price from state to state. This report is yet another reminder that we must do more to help disadvantaged students, many of whom face additional barriers to college that are not financial. The least we can do is slow the skyrocketing price of college and put the dream of higher education back within reach of every American."