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Public College Costs Surge 8.3%

JupiterImages/Comstock Images(NEW YORK) -- The College Board reported Wednesday that average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges surged 8.3 percent this fall, just as President Obama released details of his plan to help students deal with a debt burden that has expanded to more than $1 trillion.

“The national increase in tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for the 2011-12 academic year was influenced substantially by the State of California,” the Princeton, N.J.-based group said in a statement Wednesday. “Nationally, the increase for the public four-year sector was 8.3 percent between 2010-11 and 2011-12 including California but only 7.0 percent excluding it. Similarly, the national increase for public two-year institutions was 8.7 percent including California and 7.4 percent excluding it.”

President Obama revealed his “Pay as You Earn” proposal Tuesday to reduce monthly student loan payments starting in 2014. Borrowers will be able to cut their monthly student loan payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income and the plan will forgive the balance of their debt after 20 years of payments.  Starting this January, an estimated 6 million students and recent college graduates will be able to consolidate their loans and reduce their interest rates.

The College Board said the tuition increases stemmed from a weakened economy and state funding that has not kept pace with the growth in college enrollments. “For the fifth consecutive year, the percentage increase in average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities was higher than the percentage increase at private nonprofit four-year colleges. While national data provide an important snapshot of overall college prices, this year’s data also reveal substantial state-to-state pricing variations underlying the national averages,” the group said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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