The price of a college education rose substantially last year, despite a 2.1-percent decline in the Consumer Price Index from July 2008 to July 2009, reports the New York Times. Hit hard by state budget cuts, four-year public colleges raised tuition and fees by an average of 6.5 percent last year, while prices at private colleges rose 4.4 percent, according to a report issued Oct. 20 by the College Board. Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, called the increases “hugely disappointing.” “Given the financial hardship of the country, it’s simply astonishing that colleges and universities would have this kind of increases,” Callan said. “A lot of people think we can solve the problem with more financial aid, but I think we have to have some cost containment. For all the talk about reinventing higher education, I don’t see any results.” With room and board, the average total cost of attendance at a public four-year college is now $15,213, the report found. At private nonprofit colleges, which enroll about one in five college students nationally, the average total cost of attendance is now $35,636. Over the last 30 years, college costs have risen steadily—especially at four-year public universities, once considered the affordable route to higher education…

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