NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

College Tuitions Rise by Double Digits in Some States

February 11, 2003

States are passing along their budget woes to public university students and their families -- while cutting the amounts of financial aid they offer. That is the conclusion reached by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

  • Although incomes are rising by only 1 percent to 2 percent in most states, tuitions at 4-year public schools leapt by 24 percent in Massachusetts, 20 percent in Texas and 7 percent nationwide since the 2001-2002 school year.
  • Meanwhile, the amount of state aid available in Massachusetts has declined 24 percent, by 13 percent in Connecticut, and 20 percent in Arkansas.
  • States spend about 48 percent of their revenue on education -- or about $235 billion in 2001 for kindergarten through college, reports that National Governors' Association.

The pressure to raise tuitions is particularly intense because states froze or even cut state university tuitions during the go-go 1990s -- money that they have to recoup now.

Tuitions have long been so low in some states -- especially Iowa, Kansas and Illinois, which now are levying some of the biggest increases -- that public outcries may fall on deaf legislative ears.

Source: June Kronholz, "College Education Becomes Costlier," Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2003; based on William Trombley, "The Rising Price of Higher Education," National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Winter 2003.

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