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College costs are again on the rise. According to a College Board report released on Oct. 29, the average published cost of annual tuition and fees at private four-year colleges is $25,143, up 5.9% from last year. Room and board drives that figure up to $33,143.
At public colleges, the cost is 6.4% higher than last year, with in-state tuition averaging $6,585. Out-of-state tuition averages $17,452, a 5.2% increase from last year.
The continued escalation comes at a time when many families are feeling strapped. The value of their investments is down, the economic outlook is bleak, and student loans are harder to find. Grants and tax benefits help somewhat. The average break for private-college students is $10,200; for public college students it's $3,700.
Now that total college costs routinely break the $50,000-a-year barrier, is the education really priceless? Here's a look at 50 of the costliest degrees for traditional four-year colleges. This year's figures include tuition, fees, room, and board, and exclude colleges with specialized programs, such as those for students with learning disabilities.
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