Advancing a Free Society

The Case for Tuition Increases at Public Universities

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The fiscal crisis in many states of the United States has led these states to cut their funding of public colleges and universities. The newly elected governor of California, Jerry Brown, has proposed to significantly cut state funding to California public colleges and universities, the most extensive and prestigious public system of higher education in the United States. To compensate at least in part for the cuts in public funding, tuition at American public institutions of higher learning is increasing significantly.

Something similar is going on in countries where cash-strapped central governments finance most university expenses. The newly elected British coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats last month approved a contentious bill that allows universities beginning in the fall of 2012 to raise tuition to a maximum of more than $14,000 a year compared to present levels of about $5000. Note that the average tuition and fees at American four-year public institutions was about $7,500 for in-state students, and it was over $12,000 for out-of–state students. Students at different British universities opposed the proposal to raise tuition by occupying university buildings, picketing the British Parliament building, and engaging in various acts of violence, but the bill passed anyway (by a close vote).

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(photo credit: samk)