Higher Ed Cuts Mean Major Tuition Hikes

By: - March 20, 2013 12:00 am

Tuition at public colleges has spiked, especially in Arizona and California. (iStock)

Tuition at public colleges in Arizona and California hasspiked more than 70 percent over the past five years, the result of massivecuts to state higher education funding in those states and most others, accordingto a reportreleased Tuesday.

While enrollment grew by nearly 1.2 million students overthe past five years, states cut overall higher education funding by .8billion, or $2,353 per student, the report by the Center on Budget and PolicyPriorities said.

The tuition increases haven’t prevented major cutbacks atuniversities, including thousands of layoffs at schools in Arizona andCalifornia, and department closures there and elsewhere.

Wyoming and North Dakota are the only states that haveincreased funding for higher education over the past five years, but studentsin those states still saw a 9 percent increase in tuition in the same time span.

Rising tuition has led to greater student debt and couldmake it harder to improve graduation rates, the report found, though there areindications that tuitiongrowth could be slowing in some states. Last year, for example, regents inArizona froze tuition and fees at the two largest universities in the state,Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.

But Phil Oliff, the lead author of the report,says that even though state budgets are starting to improve, states haven’tbegun to significantly reinvest in higher education.

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