College tuition hikes lowest since 1970s

college tuition
Of course college is still getting more expensive, but at a slower pace.

For the last two years, the cost of public college tuition has posted the smallest increases since the 1970s.

It rose by less than 3% both years. That hasn't happened since 1974. Tuition at private schools is also slowing, but is still growing faster than at public schools.

Here are the numbers from The College Board:

- In-state tuition at public four-year colleges: $9,139, up 2.9%.

- Tuition at private non-profit colleges: $31,231, up 3.7%.

Of course, college is still getting more expensive, but many students pay much less than the sticker price. Grants and tax credits that students don't have to pay back can help cut college costs significantly.

Here's what students, on average, actually paid:

-In-state tuition at public four-year colleges: $3,020

-Tuition at private non-profit colleges: $12,361

The report found that on average students from families with incomes below $30,000 received enough grant aid to cover all tuition and fee costs, with about $2,300 left over to use for room, board and books.

Some more good news: Students are borrowing less, according to The College Board. The total amount students borrowed fell by 13% for the past three years.

That follows an 18% increase between 2007 and 2011.

One reason is the decline in enrollment at for-profit schools where students tend to borrow more, Ma said.

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