After three straight years of 3-5% increases, room and board annual growth has finally slowed to a more pedestrian 2-3%. In recent years, universities have invested heavily in on-campus facilities and presumably passed these costs to the students at a rate greater than inflation. One administrator once told me that on-campus facilities are “table stakes” and without a competitive offering, students will go elsewhere. Maybe realism has taken hold as the cost increases seem to have slowed. Using the Tuition and Pricing Interactive, we crunched the average numbers for student expenses.
Other costs have remained flat or even declined.
Books and supplies experienced modest decline in costs perhaps reflecting the costs of digital materials
Off-campus costs have also flattened after substantial increases in 2012 and 2013.