College students and their families are shouldering a larger share of higher education costs as states are cutting back on funding for public universities due to the weak economy.
“State cuts to higher education funding have been severe and almost universal,” according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The report said that states are spending 28 percent less per student, when adjusted for inflation, than before the economic downturn in 2008. Eleven states cut per-student funding by at least a third, while Arizona and New Hampshire cut such spending by more than half.
To make up for decreased state funding, public universities have increased tuition by 27 percent since 2008, or $1,850 per student after adjusting for inflation. Two states — California and Arizona — increased tuition rates by more than 70 percent.
“These sharp increases in tuition have accelerated longer-term trends of reducing college affordability and shifting costs from states to students,” the report said. “The College Board reports that the price of attending a four-year public college or university, even after accounting for increased federal financial aid and tax subsidies, has grown significantly faster than the growth in median income over the last 20 years.”
Some schools are finding ways to keep the cost of a degree more affordable, with increased online classes and cutting the time it takes to graduate.
“The best way to make college more affordable is to get out faster,” Paul Shelly, a spokesman for the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, told NorthJersey.com.
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