Tuition at private colleges and universities is up by 3.9 percent from last year. But while that rate is well above overall inflation, it's the smallest increase in at least four decades.

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And the increase is much smaller than the price hikes that have been seen at public universities.

The figures were released today by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

The list price at private colleges is still a lot higher than at public schools -- averaging $29,230 this fall, compared to just over $8,000 last year at public institutions. Neither figure includes room and board.

But private colleges typically award more financial aid. And that reduces the average net cost at private colleges to around $12,900, according to the most recent figures from the College Board.


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