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Marketplace Morning Report

University of California tuition soars

Amy Scott Jul 14, 2011
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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.

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