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COLLEGE TUITION AGAIN OUTPACES INFLATION

College costs far outpaced inflation again this fall as the average yearly tuition at a state university or college pushed past $3,000 and private tuition rose beyond $13,000.

The College Board's annual survey found that undergraduate tuition and fees at four-year institutions increased an average 5 percent since last year, triple the current inflation rate.

That means families are paying $136 to $670 more than last year. Add room, board and other expenses, and a year at a public college costs more than $10,000. Costs add up to more than $21,400 on average at a private school.

Increases have run about 5 percent for the last five years after double-digit rises earlier in the decade. Average tuition has more than doubled since 1976, even when inflation is considered.

The board also reported that a record $55 billion in financial aid was available in 1996-1997, the most recent year for data. That's up from $32 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars nearly a decade earlier.

But enrollments have increased, and less of the money is available in grants that aid the neediest. Aid per student has grown at half the rate of tuition, the board estimates.

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