Tuition at public colleges and universities increased by more than ever last year. Since the recession began, states have cut funds that were targeted for their state universities, which resulted in increases in the cost of tuition at public universities.
Once institutional grants and scholarships were factored in, tuition at public colleges and universities rose a record 8.3% last year, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. Meanwhile, the state funding per student dropped an average of 9%. That plunge was the steepest since the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association started charting the amount in 1980.
The 9% drop in state funding was fueled by the cuts in California, which cut funding by 14.3% and has the largest state system in the country. But even without California, the funding nationally dropped 8% and tuition grew 6.3%.
The average tuition nationally sans grants and scholarships increased from $5,189 in 2011-12 from $4,793 in 2010-2011. Public colleges and universities are approaching the tuition level of private institutions.
At Pennsylvania State University, the tuition has risen 12% since 2008-09, and funding from the state is less than 14% of the school's educational budget, as opposed to 62% in 1970-71. The California State University System has cut availability for transfer students, rejecting roughly 20,000 students every year for the last three years who qualified for admission. Kentucky colleges are urging students to use online education, as well as cutting the number of courses available.