If you think the price of food and gasoline are scary, prepare yourself for some seriously frightening statistics. College tuition is still continuing to rise, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Education. Between 2008 and 2010, the average tuition at a four-year public university climbed 15 percent. In some states (California, Arizona and Georgia) tuition increased by as much as 40 percent. Whew!
What’s behind the price hike? State budget cuts are partially to blame. Last year, 40 percent of states cut higher education spending. The trend in tuition increases makes it even more important for parents and students to be smart consumers when it comes time to choose a school.
“As a nation, we need more college graduates in order to stay competitive in the global economy,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “But if the costs keep on rising, especially at a time when family incomes are hurting, college will become increasingly unaffordable for the middle class.”
At a four-year public state school, Pennsylvania State University (main campus) topped the list with the highest tuition at $15,250, followed by The University of Pittsburgh, The University of Vermont and The University of New Hampshire. Other public schools cited for high tuitions included New Jersey Institute of Technology ($13,320), College of New Jersey ($13,293) and Pennsylvania College of Technology ($13,080).
The high price of a college education is an issue that isn’t likely to be resolved anytime soon. Congress will debate the interest rate of federal student loans this summer, and the Department of Education is trying to make students and parents more aware of the cost of higher education. But in the end, families will have to educate themselves on how best to pay for college, and work the angles to bring down the total costs.