The rise of college tuition costs has slowed to its lowest rate in 40 years, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

The survey, the results of which were released Oct. 16, found that tuition at private institutions across the country rose by an average of 3.9 percent for the 2012-2013 school year. This is the first time on record that the rate of increase was less than 4 percent.

This year’s increase at Georgetown, however, is actually higher than in the past two years. Tuition at Georgetown rose by 3.5 percent between the 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 school years, compared with a 2.9 percent increase from the 2010-2011 to the 2011-2012 academic years.

According to the NAICU study, the smaller rise in tuition was mirrored by a smaller increase in the availability of student financial aid. Aid increased by an average of 6.2 percent in the past year, a rate that is lower than the past several years. At private institutions across the nation aid increased by 7 percent in 2011-2012, 6.8 percent in 2010-2011 and 9 percent in 2009-10.

At Georgetown, financial aid increased by $1.9 million this year, and the university’s board of directors plans to increase aid by $4.7 million in 2013-2014 and $6.5 million in 2015-2016, according to the university’s five year plan.

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