Faced with dwindling aid from cash-strappedstate governments, public collegeshave raised the price tag on justabout everythingâ€”tuition, fees, androom and boardâ€”to close budget gaps.States increased spending on higher educationby just 1.2% in the 2002 to 2003school year, the lowest boost in 10 years.Funds for public colleges fell in 14 states,including Oregon, where appropriationswere slashed by 11%, the steepest cut inthe nation. The overall result is an average7.5% increase in costs at public colleges,to $9663 a year. At private colleges,costs went up an average of 5.8%,to $18,273. A ray of sunshine amid thegloomy college cost picture is that financialaid has almost doubled in the pastdecade. For more information about collegefunding, visit www.finaid.org.