NEW YORK, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. college costs are rising at a slower rate but any benefit to students is being offset because growth in grant aid is also slowing, the College Board said.
In two reports issued Wednesday -- the 30th annual Trends in Student Aid report and companion Trends in College Pricing report -- the non-profit based in New York said students and their families are being required to pay more for college "in a still weak economy."
The Trends in Student Aid report said published tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges rose 2.9 percent from 2012-13 to 2013-14 -- the smallest annual increase since 1975-76. Adjusting for inflation, the increase was 0.9 percent
However, federal grant aid declined from 2010-11 to 2012-13, the Trends in Student Aid report found, causing net college prices to rise.
"While rapid increases in federal grant aid have made tuition increases less painful in recent years, that trend has not continued," the College Board said in a news release. "The grant aid students receive from federal and state governments and from their institutions is no longer growing fast enough to keep net prices from increasing. As a result, the net price students actually pay for college -- after accounting for grant aid and tax breaks -- is rising even though the rapid increase in the published price for college has begun to slow."
College Board President David Coleman said the organization is taking steps to help students get the most out of college -- including providing help for making "informed choices about the college application process" and "working to increase access to rigorous courses, which research shows is central to improving college and career readiness, which in turn makes it more likely students will complete college."
Coleman said the College Board has established a committee to "develop recommendations for the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act," the major federal law on student aid.