Average sticker prices at the nation's four-year public universities rose 2.9% this year, the smallest annual increase in more than three decades, suggesting that the steeper increases over the past few years "did not signal a new era of accelerating prices," says a report out Wednesday.
Still, the smaller rates of increase this year — across public, private non-profit and for-profit colleges — are tempered by recent declines in federal grant aid, it says.
"This does not mean that college is suddenly more affordable," says economist Sandy Baum, co-author of Trends in Higher Education reports on tuition and financial aid, released by the non-profit College Board. "It does seem that the (upward tuition) spiral is moderating. Not turning around, not ending, but moderating."