How has the cost of tuition increased since the 2006-07 school year? Public universities coping with state budget cuts have raised tuition prices in every state.
The cost for higher education is rising. Since the recession in 2008, public schools are struggling to find ways to sustain educational opportunities while state and federal funding for higher education decreases. On average, states spend $1,598 less per public university/college student than before 2008. Apart from raising tuition, public schools are experimenting with different ways to work around decreased funding, including staff layoffs and an increased emphasis on online classes. Because of funding cuts, students have fewer options for courses and professors. Some schools have even raised their out-of-state enrollment rates — students attending a public university in another state will pay higher tuition.
Students experience the effects of decreased funding nationwide. In addition to paying higher tuition, students may have fewer options for classes, larger class sizes, and receive less in financial aid. Merit scholarship programs like Louisiana’s TOPS receive inconsistent funding from states, which can be devastating for low-income students.
UC Berkeley senior Gabe Ng says he has been fortunate to receive assistance through the new G.I. Bill, which covers the cost of tuition for servicemembers and their children. Ng says at Berkeley out-of-state students are more likely to take out loans. He also knows “students who are putting themselves through college via loans and working 2-3 jobs while being a full time student.” Ng mentions that for some of his fellow students, “financial insecurity is such a prevalent problem that it definitely takes away from the overall learning experience.”
UCB senior Gabe Fuente, who transferred to Berkeley from UC Santa Cruz, recalls protests to a tuition increase at Santa Cruz in 2014. “There were class walk outs, buildings were occupied, the entrance to the school was blocked, causing the school to be shut down for a day, and a few students even shut down highway 17 by chaining themselves to cement blocks.” Fuente acknowledges the complexity of the issue, stating, “public universities should be able to provide affordable education for everyone … But at the same time, there is greater demand for education [today].”
In recent years, tuition hikes paired with funding decreases mean public universities now receive more money through tuition than through state funding. Overall, schools across the country have raised tuition costs in considerable numbers, making it more difficult for students to graduate without debt. 68% of college students graduate with debt, with an average of $30,100 owed per borrower. Check out your state’s year-to-year average tuition costs here.
The map below details state-by-state percentage increases for tuition hikes from 2006-07 to 2016-17.
Arizona schools have taken the deepest cuts to funding since 2008, correlating with one of the highest increases in tuition costs nationwide — tuition has risen by 87.8% in Arizona since 2008 (an average of $4,978 across universities).
Montana’s tuition increase, by contrast, is minimal, only 4.8% (equal to $291). Montana is one of only four states that haven’t decreased funding for higher education since 2008. State funding has increased by 1.8%.
North Dakota has increased tuition costs by 15.9% ($1,055), while state funding has also risen by 46% since 2008.
The states with the most expensive averages in 2016-17 tuition are New Hampshire and Vermont (both $15,000+). Public schools with the highest in-state tuition costs for the 2016-17 school year include the University of Pittsburgh, with tuition cost and fees coming to $18,618, the College of William and Mary in Virginia ($18,687), and the Maine Maritime Academy ($18,108).
See the chart below for another view on how tuition has changed in the past 10 years.
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