In-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities rose 7.9 percent between the 2010-11 and 2009-10 school years. At private four-year schools, the average cost rose 4.5 percent. Are these rising costs improving education? Stephen Trachtenberg, president emeritus of George Washington University, presided over a 300 percent increase in tuition and fees over his two decades as president at GWU. He recently defended the high costs of tuition in an article for The Atlantic.