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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Report: When Funding's Cut, Tuition Jumps

For some years there has been disagreement over whether reductions in state and federal funding have been responsible for rises in college and university tuition rates. According to a report in Inside Higher Ed, a new research study concludes that they have, at least in part.

The study, published in the Economics of Education Review, looked at the relationship between tuition and government funding levels since 1987, taking into account factors such as increases in fee revenue and state controls on tuition. It found that schools do pass along 25.7% of cutbacks to students in the form of tuition increases.

“In other words, for every $1,000 cut from per-student state and local appropriations, the average student can be expected to pay $257 more per year in tuition and fees,” explained the Inside Higher Ed report.

That’s an average over three decades; the amount shouldered by students in recent years has been even higher, about $318. Institutions with graduate programs tended to raise tuition more than schools offering only bachelor’s or associate degrees.

“The fact that this has been increasing says to me that in the ‘80s and ‘90s, there probably was a lot more fat in the budget,” said the lead researcher in the study. “And so, when states would divest, it was a lot easier for schools to cut things. Whereas now, the low-hanging fruit is diminishing. We’re having to make tougher decisions, and we’re having to pass more of these costs on to students because there’s not some obvious spending that we can cut.”

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