When Tuition Freezes Over
Here's a hot issue in states: college tuition freezes. Governors O'Malley of Maryland, Gregoire of Washington, Rell of Connecticut, Pawlenty of Minnesota and Schweitzer of ...
Governors O'Malley of Maryland, Gregoire of Washington, Rell of Connecticut, Pawlenty of Minnesota and Schweitzer of Montana all have proposed freezing college costs in place at some or all state institutions. Lawmakers in Ohio and Texas are looking at the idea too.
It's no mystery why policymakers are making these proposals now. Tuition rates at public colleges and universities have greatly outpaced inflation in recent years. Many students have seen their bills go up by 10% or more in a single year, then rise by a similar amount again the next. Financial accessibility has long been a hallmark of public higher education in the United States, but, more and more, that's being called into doubt.
Elected officials would do well, however, to understand the root cause of these tuition increases: elected officials.
In the lean years for state government earlier this decade, higher education was a prime source for cuts.
From FY 2002 to FY 2005, the amount of state tax dollars dedicated to higher education increased by a total of 0.62%, not nearly enough to keep up with inflation and population growth (in '05 there were a million more college students than in '02). Only now is state support starting to grow again in a meaningful way.
While budget writers might have been right to prioritize core services like K-12 education and health care in a tough fiscal climate, they shouldn't be shocked that their schools responded by raising tuition rates. They also shouldn't be surprised that if they impose tuition caps without new spending or a plan to make colleges more efficient, the result will be a lower quality higher education system.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Rise in Early Cervical Cancer Detection Linked to Obamacare3 days ago
Video Just the Latest Stain on Chicago Police's Decades-Long Record of Misconduct3 days ago
On Immigration, Feds and Texas Play Chess3 days ago
Pension Cuts Win Federal Court Support in Chattanooga3 days ago
Amid Financial Turmoil, Florida City Fires Its New Manager3 days ago
Maryland Changes How Lawsuit Payouts Are Sold3 days ago