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Friday, February 11, 2011

One reason tuition is going up

Tuition is not increasing to necessarily give us professors a raise. Rather, state legislatures are dramatically cutting back on the state support for higher education (net impacts at this point are unknown at this time but dissertations and careers will be made on these shocks). Today's UB Daily has the following stories:

  • University of Minnesota students — realizing that lawmakers may be looking at cuts in higher education funding as one of the ways to resolve the $6.2 billion state budget deficit — will rally at the Capitol Feb. 22

  • Hundreds of Texas students will be denied financial aid and will be unable to attend college if the Legislature proceeds with 20 to 25 percent cuts in state aid to higher education in coming years, leaders of the state's top public universities told the Texas Senate Finance Committee in Austin on Wednesday.

  • More than 100 degree programs will be eliminated at Missouri colleges and universities as part of a cost-savings review ordered by Gov. Jay Nixon.

  • Gov. Rick Scott's [Florida] budget cuts $340 million from college and university education and research by not restoring federal stimulus dollars, but makes up lost federal cash by essentially keeping funding flat for Bright Futures scholarships received by Florida students.

  • A few state senators want to freeze tuition at Minnesota's public colleges and universities -- then limit tuition increases forever.

  • Thankfully the news in NC is not quite so bad.

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    The most insidious part is that we get less and less funding from states (at VMI it's under 15%), yet our tuition rates (in particular in-state rates) are regulated. The subsidy for in-staters is increasingly funded by a shrinking number of out-of-staters, as well as (implicitly) by the endowment. If the state wants to subsidize education for in-staters, I think it's great. Do it. But you can't squeeze off the funds at all sources before something eventually gives.
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