According to the College Board’s annual reports, in 2010-2011 undergraduate students received an average of $12,455 per full-time student in financial aid, including $6,539 in grant aid, $4,907 in federal loans and $1,009 in a combination of tax credits, deductions and Federal Work-Study. The figures collectively represent an 80% increase in inflation-adjusted dollars of education tax credits and tuition deductions between 2007-2008 and 2010-2011.
The College Board attributes the sharp uptick to the introduction of the American Opportunity Tax Credit in 2009, which increased the subsidies provided to students through the combination of education tax credits and deductions from about $7 billion in 2007-2008 to an estimated $14.8 billion in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.
For many, the tax credit may have come at an opportune time, as tuition costs at all types of colleges and universities continue to rise.
The College Board found tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities increased by 8.3% in 2010-2011. Comparatively, nonprofit private four-year colleges and universities saw tuition rise by 4.5% on average, while for-profit institutions rose by 3.2%. Tuition and fees at public two-year colleges rose by 8.7%.
However, after subtracting grant aid from all sources and federal education tax credits and deductions, average net tuition and fees is only about $170 higher in 2011 dollars for public four-year college and university students than it was five years ago. The College Board says students actually pay less now in all other sectors.
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