Tonawanda News

Obama visits WNY

August 22, 2013

College costs are on the rise


Tonawanda News — According to a recent story by the Associated Press, over the past five years, the average tuition sticker price at U.S. public four-year colleges is up 27 percent beyond overall inflation.

While local private colleges are pricier as a whole, their increases look a bit more level. Canisius College’s tuition and fees have increased from $29,512 in 2009-10 to $32,030 in 2012-13, a jump of $2,518, or about 9 percent. For Niagara University, those costs have climbed from $24,700 in 2009-10 to $27,230, an increase of $2,530 or about 10 percent.

The tuition at private schools was up 13 percent beyond overall inflation over the past five years adjusted for inflation, according to the AP story.

Community college options

On another side of the spectrum, Western New York is also home to two public community colleges, which offer two-year degrees and a variety of other programs.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center included Erie Community College on its annual list of the most affordable community colleges in the country, using its net price of $3,342, the cost of a year’s attendance after considering all grants and scholarship aid.

The NCES indicates that for ECC, in-state students paid $3,640 for tuition and fees in 2009-10 and $4,444 in 2012-13, for an increase of $804, or 22 percent. 

However, ECC itself currently uses the figure of $3,995 for in-state student tuition and fees per year. It was unclear if the NCES numbers included additional fees.

As a SUNY community college, ECC President Jack Quinn said, ECC is funded under a special formula by state law. About a third of the money is supposed to originate from the state, a third from the county that sponsors the college and a third is supposed to come from student tuition.

In practice, it doesn’t quite work out that way, he said. 

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