by Andrew Gillen
Tim Ranzetta points out that inflation was negative from July 08 to July 09, meaning that the nominal increases in tuition work out to be substantially higher in real terms.
By my calculations, it turns out that after adjusting for inflation, tuition and fees increased by 8.68% at public 4 year schools, and by 8.17% at private 4 year schools. To put those numbers in perspective, check out the graph below.*
The red and purple columns represent the real (inflation adjusted) percent increase at public and private institutions, respectively, for each year. As you can see, both of them exploded for the 2008-2009 year. Real tuition increased at private schools at double the next highest rate of the past decade, while the even higher increase at public schools was only surpassed once, in 2004. This represents a massive increase in the financial burden of college on students.
*Tuition data from here. For 08-09 data, I pulled the percentage increase from here (where the language indicated that they were reporting nominal increases, though that was not absolutely clear) and multiplied by the 07-08 values in the DES to get the implied 08-09 figures.