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    Private colleges in Mass. have pushed to help students with costs

    In the article “College costs top inflation, even with aid” (Page A1, June 22), you write that the cost to attend private colleges in Massachusetts has “risen sharply.” I don’t think that’s a fair characterization, since, adjusted for inflation, the net cost of a private college education has increased, on average, less than half of a percentage point a year over the last five years.

    This year, our private colleges awarded nearly $580 million in institutional financial aid to Massachusetts students, a 40 percent increase over 2008-09. Helping students pay for college has led to our private colleges having one of the highest four-year graduation rates of any state in the country.

    Today, nearly 60 percent of the Pell Grant recipients at four-year colleges in Massachusetts are attending our private colleges. Our colleges are transparent in sharing their net cost information with aspiring students and their families. They want to communicate that the cost of college is more affordable than families have been led to believe. And you don’t need to be a detective to find the information, as it is right on colleges’ websites.


    But we must do more, including restoring state scholarship funding, creating incentives for college savings, and lowering the interest rates on student loans — all solutions that would have enriched your article.

    Richard Doherty


    Association of Independent

    Colleges and Universities

    in Massachusetts