College Costs to Increase 7% in Coming Year

Associated Press

The average cost of a year at college will climb 7% in 1985-86, the fifth straight year such costs will outpace the overall inflation rate, according to an annual survey released Saturday by the College Board.

Bennington College, a small, selective liberal arts school in Vermont, will be the nation’s most expensive college, with total annual costs of $17,210. It replaces the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has been the most expensive for the last three years. MIT will rank second this coming school year, with total costs of $17,030.

College officials generally have defended the rapid rise in tuitions in the 1980s because increases lagged behind the inflation rate for several years in the 1970s. In that period, officials have said, double-digit inflation eroded professors’ salaries and forced schools to postpone building maintenance and repairs.


“This year’s increase is just one point above last year’s 6% rise,” said George H. Hanford, president of the board. “But it is still below the 10% and 11% annual increases in average total college costs that occurred during the early 1980s.”

The board’s annual survey defines total college costs as including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses and transportation. Complete survey results will be published Sept. 1 by the board in the 1985-86 edition of “The College Cost Book.”

The survey of 3,087 of the nation’s colleges and universities found:

--Total average costs up 8% at four-year public colleges, to $5,314 for students who live on campus and $4,240 for students who live at home.

--Costs at four-year private colleges up 7%, to $9,659, for resident students, and up 8%, to $8,347, for commuting students.

--Average costs at two-year public colleges up 5%, to $3,627, for commuting students.

The board said costs for resident students at two-year public colleges were not calculated because the number of reporting institutions was too small to be meaningful.

Besides Bennington and MIT, the most expensive four-year schools in terms of total cost are Barnard College, $16,842; Princeton University, $16,790; Yale University, $16,650; Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, $16,500; Sarah Lawrence College, $16,285; Stanford University, $16,193; Tufts University, $16,133, and Dartmouth College, $16,120.


The board also listed the top 10 four-year public colleges in terms of total costs for in-state students: the University of Illinois at Chicago Health Science Center, $8,285; Maine Maritime Academy, $8,265; Colorado School of Mines, $7,800; University of California at Berkeley, $7,344; University of Vermont, $7,290; University of California at Irvine, $7,236; University of Rhode Island, $7,089; Vermont Technical College, $6,626; College of William & Mary, $6,400, and Medical University of South Carolina, $5,850.

The College Board is a private, nonprofit, educational association whose members include more than 2,500 colleges and other institutions of learning.