University of California tuition soars

University of California seal

Kai Ryssdal: Tuition's going up at University of California. The nearly 10 percent bump was approved this afternoon. Actually, tuition is known as fees in this state. But whatever you call it, it'll mean an extra thousand dollars or so per student, on top of an increase approved last year.

The extra money's going to help offset huge cuts in state funding for higher education in Southern California, and in much of the rest of the country as well. From the Marketplace Education Desk at WYPR in Baltimore, Amy Scott reports.

Amy Scott: For the first time, the UC system will get more revenue from tuition than from the state.

Patrick Callan: What we've had is just a huge offloading of costs from the state to the students and their families in California.

That's Patrick Callan, with the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. The same shift is happening around the country. A new report says 35 states have cut higher education funding this fiscal year. Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, Colorado all have raised tuition lately. Just this week, the California State University system approved another 12 percent increase.

Lauren Asher is president of the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success. She says in California, a third of the money from tuition increases goes to financial aid.

Lauren Asher: Net price -- the cost of college after available aid -- in California is still lower than most of the rest of the country, especially for low- and moderate-income students.

But others say rising tuition will force more students out of four-year colleges and into lower-cost community colleges that are already maxed out.

David Breneman is an education economist at the University of Virginia. He says as state universities have looked elsewhere for revenue, they haven't done enough to reduce costs.

David Breneman: We've been pushing every conceivable revenue source now for two decades. And the one place where people have not taken as aggressive a stance is to say, you know, 'Exactly how and where can we make some serious long-term changes in the way we do things?'

Breneman says one answer may be technology. That could mean offering more classes online.

I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.
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If the public university system is to survive, then everyone within it should sacrifice a little more, including professors, not just students.

I am on a foundation board for a state university. The tuition and ALL other expenses is $14,000 per year. My son goes to a private university cost is $60,000 per year. His school accepts 3,000 freshman a year from 36,000 applications. The state university accepts 3,000 applicacations (3500 apply) for 1200 slots. At the state school 90% have some kind of aid. My son's school is 50%. Just an example of how uneducated people don't have a clue about college or higher education. The think the government and rich people should take care of them.

The idea behind deeply subsidising education is that it will create more productive workers who can make it up by paying more in taxes. It's possible that there's a point of diminishing return and that California has been past that point for too long.
Investing in the future is good, and something that government should do, but not if it means that the future can't pay off it's debts.

I used the GI Bill. I've told my kids they can use that too or work hard and go to West Point for free. There is ROTC and if the military is not for them, they can do what the wife did: Scholarships for Engineering.

We also have been teaching them to NOT have debt. No credit cards, no car loans, no rent-to-own. Because of that we have more savings. They are going to have to work and save their money just like we did and not count on loans that are so big you will never pay them off.

It is a good thing that tuition is now being paid for by the person that is using the service rather than by everyone in the state. Not everyone uses the state colleges, but everyone uses teh roads. All state aid did is move money out of the pockets of poor people and lowered the cost of middle class and rich kids going to school.

People need to see the real cost of something so they can better set a value on it. Then they will be more likely to question why they have to take useless courses that have nothing at all to do with their major and everything with providing a job for someone.

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