Tuition and fees for public colleges in the U.S. have gone up as the economy weakens and state funding decreases, a report from the College Board says.

Public four-year universities charged students an average of $8,244 – up 8.3 percent from last year; public two-year college tuition and fees went up 8.7 percent to an average of $2,963, the report found.

The average tuition increases have exceeded the rate of inflation, which rose 3.6 percent between July 2010 and July 2011. State funding per student declined by 4 percent in 2010 and 23 percent over the past decade, the report found.

This is all as individual and family incomes have decreased in all income levels.

“While the importance of a college degree has never been greater, its rapidly rising price is an overwhelming obstacle to many students and families,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton, in a statement. “Making matters worse is the variability of price from state to state. This report is yet another reminder that we must do more to help disadvantaged students, many of whom face additional barriers to college that are not financial. The least we can do is slow the skyrocketing price of college and put the dream of higher education back within reach of every American.”

Surging tuition costs have left the average public college graduate with more than $20,000 in loans. A report out last month found federal and private college loans hit the $1 trillion mark in 2010, surpassing credit card debt for the first time.

President Obama announced Tuesday he would use his executive authority to reduce loan payments for students. Under the Obama plan students can consolidate their debt and reduce their interest rates, the plan also allows borrowers to cap the payments at 10 percent of discretionary income.