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Tuition Surges at State Colleges

Education experts say wrenching decisions on the state level about how to allocate limited public resources are having a big effect on the rise in cost for public college tuition.

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If you’ve been saving for your children’s college tuition, it’s probably best practice for you to start doubling and/or tripling the amount of your contribution because you will need it. College tuition for state colleges is surging.

According to education experts, decisions on the state level about how to allocate limited public resources — to a growing population of people who need them — are having a huge impact on the cost of college tuition at the state level. “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.”

For generations of Americans, public colleges and universities were the most cost-efficient option for earning a college degree. Today, cash-strapped states across the nation are cutting funding for colleges and directing scarce resources to primary and secondary schooling, Medicaid, and prisons. The state’s disbursement of funds to other initiatives is now shifting more of the cost of higher education to students and their families. Public universities “are creeping toward the private, nonprofit model, where everybody pays market rates rather than subsidized rates,” said Kevin Carey, director of the education-policy program at the New America Foundation. The University of Virginia’s graduate school of business, for example, no longer receives any state funding.

Should legislation restrict state schools from having the same cost as private colleges?

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