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College Is Still Getting More Expensive. What Can Stop It?

Tuition and fees at private and public schools alike keep rising faster than inflation.

The nation’s colleges and universities hiked tuition and other prices yet again this year, continuing a decadeslong practice of raising them above the rate of inflation as higher education becomes less and less affordable.

Tuition, fees, and room and board at private nonprofit colleges rose 2.6 percent on average, when adjusted for inflation, to $45,370 this academic year, according to a report released on Wednesday by the College Board. In-state students at four-year public colleges saw costs climb 1.8 percent, to $20,090—the first time they’ve topped $20,000 after adjusting for inflation, according to data dating to 1971, maintained by the administrator of the SAT exam.