Nov 28, 2009

DC Colleges and Universities Increase Tuition by an Average of 3.2%

Four-year colleges and universities located within the District of Columbia increased tuition and fees by an average of 3.2 percent for the 2009-2010 academic year. Total costs, including room and board, rose by 4.1 percent. While the national Consumer Price Index (CPI) actually decreased by 2.1 percent last year, DC institutions posted increases close to national averages as computed by the College Board in its Annual Survey of Colleges 2009 and reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription may be required). Two DC universities, Georgetown and GW, joined an elite group of 28 US institutions exceeding $50K per year for tuition, fees, room and board.

Heading the list of university increases in tuition and fees were Howard University (7.1 percent), Catholic University (5.4 percent), and American University (5.1 percent). Although neither Gallaudet nor Southeastern raised tuition, Gallaudet did slightly increase room and board.


2009-10 Tuition and Fees

2008-09 Tuition and Fees

Percent Change

Room and Board

American University





Catholic University





Corcoran College of Art





Gallaudet University





George Washington





Georgetown University





Howard University





Southeastern University





Trinity Washington





University of DC





* $12,300 for nonresidents

In Virginia, private colleges and universities increased tuition by an average of 4.2 percent, while public institutions averaged a 5.7 percent increase for in-state students. George Mason University (6.8 percent), the University of Mary Washington (6.2 percent), and Old Dominion University (5.8 percent) posted the largest increases.

Public colleges and universities in Maryland were more tightly restricted by the State Legislature and limited average tuition increases to 1.75 percent for resident students. Private Maryland institutions, however, went up by an average of 4.7 percent, with Hood College (6 percent) and the College of Notre Dame (5.8 percent) posting among the highest percent increases.

While more modest than in previous years, the tuition increases are troubling for families trying to project college costs. Although many colleges have taken steps to bring spending more in line with anticipated income, the drain on the system is becoming apparent and future tuition rate increases are all but inevitable at most institutions. The question remains, however, as to the elasticity of college demand and what the market will bear during tough economic times.

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