College Costs Soaring, Study Says
By Tiffany Danitz, Staff Writer
The price of a college education has outpaced family income and inflation, making it less affordable for low and middle income Americans, according to a May 2 report by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
The report, Losing Ground, found that the recent downturn in the economy, accompanied by state budget cuts to higher education programs makes the problem worse. Authors urge governors and legislators to consider family income when they set tuition rates.
"The continuing pattern in setting tuition over the past 20 years is that during recessions, the financial problems of states and colleges are given more weight than those of students and families," said Patrick M. Callan, President of NCPPHE.
From 1992 through last year, the cost of tuition at four-year public colleges rose faster than family incomes in 41 states. And federal and state grants to students and to higher education institutions had not kept up with the increases in tuition.
The study also found that tuition hikes are steeper during tough economic times. Tuition is the fastest growing revenue source for public colleges and since 1980 it has increased by 107 percent.
The research was funded by the Ford Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Stateline.org is also funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.