State Schools Are Transferring Higher Ed Costs to Families

Source: WSJ, Dec 2012

For generations of Americans, public colleges and universities offered an affordable option for earning a college degree. Now, cash-strapped states across the country are cutting funding for colleges and directing scarce resources to primary and secondary schooling, Medicaid and prisons. That is shifting more of the cost of higher education to students and their families.

… education experts say wrenching decisions on the state level about how to allocate limited public resources are having a very big effect.

“Over the last 25 or 30 years, public higher education has lost out in the competition for state funds with Medicaid,” says Cornell University professor Ronald Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute. “There’s so much pressure to spend money on other things.”

Public universities “are creeping toward the private, nonprofit model, where everybody pays market rates rather than subsidized rates,” notes Kevin Carey, director of the education-policy program at the New America Foundation, a think tank. The University of Virginia’s graduate school of business, for example, now receives no state funding.

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