States Have Hiked College Tuition to Compensate For Cuts

March 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

States have slashed funding to public colleges and universities over the past five years, as I explained earlier this week and we detail in our new paper.  After adjusting for inflation, every state except North Dakota and Wyoming is spending less per student on higher education — 28 percent less, on average — than they did before the recession.

Consequently, as the chart below shows, the schools have increased tuition to help make up for lost state revenue.  As a result, the average cost of attending a public college or university has surged.

Average annual published tuition at four-year public colleges — the “sticker price” — has grown by $1,850, or 27 percent, in real terms between the 2007-08 school year, the academic year that began just prior to the recession, and the current 2012-13 school year.

Tuition increases have been both substantial and widespread.  Since the 2007-08 school year, after adjusting for inflation, the average tuition at public four-year colleges has increased by:

  • More than 50 percent in seven states;
  • More than 25 percent in 18 states; and
  • More than 15 percent in 40 states.

Two states, Arizona and California, have increased tuition by more than 70 percent.

Click here to read the full paper.

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More About Phil Oliff

Phil Oliff

Oliff joined the Center as a Policy Analyst with the State Fiscal Project and his work includes tracking state revenue collections and property tax issues, among other areas.

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