SENIOR SCENE | College cost data released for 2023-2024

Jared Zeiser (Submitted photo)
Jared Zeiser (Submitted photo)

While many of our readers may not be going to college anytime soon, most likely someone in your family will be impacted by college education expenses.

The College Board's annual report on college cost data and trends reveals significant increases in the average cost of tuition, fees, and room and board over the past two decades.

The figures are derived from a survey of approximately 4,000 colleges nationwide, showcasing a 38% surge in costs at public colleges and a 29% rise at private colleges, surpassing increases in the Consumer Price Index.

For the 2023–2024 academic year, the following cost highlights are noteworthy:

Public four-year (in-state)

Tuition and fees rose by 2.5% to $11,260.

Housing and food experienced a 3.7% increase to $12,770.

Total cost of attendance, including direct billed costs and indirect expenses, reached $28,840.

Public four-year (out-of-state)

Tuition and fees increased by 3.0% to $29,150.

Housing and food saw a 3.7% increase, matching in-state costs at $12,770.

Total cost of attendance amounted to $46,730.

Private four-year

Tuition and fees surged by 4.0% to $41,540.

Housing and food expenses rose by 4.4% to $14,650.

Total cost of attendance reached $60,420.

It's crucial to note that the College Board's figures represent sticker prices, and many families pay less due to financial aid.

A net price calculator, available on every college website, provides an estimate of potential grant aid based on financial and academic information, giving families a more accurate picture of out-of-pocket costs.

With the resumption of student loan payments in October 2023, the Department of Education introduced the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan.

This income-driven repayment plan offers various benefits, with some taking effect immediately and others scheduled for implementation in July 2024.

Notably, undergraduate loan payments are capped at 5% of discretionary income, while graduate loans are capped at 10%.

However, the 2023-2024 school year saw federal student loan interest rates at their highest in years: 5.50% for undergraduate Direct Loans, 7.05% for graduate Direct Loans, and 8.05% for graduate and parent Direct PLUS Loans.

In a significant change, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-2025 academic year was delayed until December due to a major overhaul.

The revised FAFSA introduces a "student aid index" (SAI) in place of the "expected family contribution" (EFC), providing a more accurate measure of financial aid eligibility.

Additionally, the advantage for parents with multiple children in college has been eliminated, potentially reducing aid eligibility for middle- and high-income students with siblings in college.

The new FAFSA no longer requires reporting cash support or other money paid on a student's behalf.

It's important to remember that the 2024-2025 FAFSA relies on income information from the 2022 federal tax return but incorporates current asset information at the time of submission.

Sources: College Board, Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid 2023; U.S. Department of Education, 2023.

Zeiser Wealth Management, LLC provided this article. To learn more about ZWM visit www.zeiserwealth.com. The material was prepared by Broadridge-Forefield. Investment advisory services offered through Zeiser Wealth Management LLC, a state of Arkansas Registered Investment Advisor.

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