After a decade of college costs (the actual cost of running an institution, not the price of tuition) increasing at the rate of two to five percent a year, they barely rose at all last year. According to a piece by Rachel Louise Ensign in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Plummeting utility prices and stagnant salaries left costs at colleges and universities nearly unchanged in 2010, compared with the previous year, according to an annual index released… by the Commonfund Institute.

The Higher Education Price Index, which measures eight kinds of costs incurred by colleges and universities, rose 0.9 percent nationwide in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, the smallest increase in its history.

While the cost of runny a college is still increasing, it’s not increasing by nearly as much as it used to. This also marks the first time in five years that the Higher Education Price Index was lower than the rate of inflation. In the past year the consumer price index—which defines inflation—rose 1.2 percent.

So when will this reduced cost make its way to tuition? Don’t hold your breath.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer