With State Cuts, Public University Costs Skyrocket

Amount students pay climbed record 8.3% last year

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 6, 2013 11:21 AM CST

(Newser) – Going to a state school may be becoming less of a great way to keep college costs down: With state governments cutting funding, the amount public-college students paid in tuition (after scholarships and grants) soared 8.3% last year. That's the heftiest hike on record, reports the Wall Street Journal, and comes as the average state funding per student fell 9%. That, too, is a record, the biggest drop since the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association started keeping track in 1980 (you can read the association's original report here).

But that bad news masks some good: 31 states actually increased their funding last year, but the worse-off states dragged the stats down. California alone saw a 14.3% slash in per-student funding, and Florida has cut funding to its state universities by $1 billion over the past six years, even as enrollment climbed by 35,000. At Penn State, state funding now comprises just 14% of the university's budget, down from 62% in 1970. "Unless we make public funding a higher priority, the funds are going to have to come from parents and students," says one economist.

Demonstrators protest state budget cuts to education at the California State Office Building Thursday, March 1, 2012, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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