“Tuition has risen at twice the rate of per capita income,” Mr. Welch said, “and this year it will cost just under $50,000 to attend the average private college. If the cost of milk had risen as fast as the cost of college since 1980, a gallon would be $15.”
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Education leaders said Monday that many universities had been taking steps to make college more affordable.
“Total student aid provided by institutions has more than doubled in the last decade, from $11.4 billion to $26.3 billion,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education.
Ms. Broad pointed out that despite all the attention to the richest universities and highest tuitions, most universities had small endowments. Only 3 percent of the nation’s college students are at institutions costing $25,000 a year or more, she said, and just 75 universities control 71 percent of all endowment assets.