Why Are Colleges Raising Tuition Fees Right in the Thick of the Economic Fallout?
President Obama in his State of the Union aims to address the rising costs of education by tempting colleges and universities that manage to keep tuition fees down with access to a $1 billion pool of grants. He also aims to punish 'high-cost' colleges by slashing federal aid.
But why is it that schools have raised their tuition fees in the first place?
One reason for this is when lawmakers slash the existing funds available to the universities. This is exactly what happened to the system schools of the University of North Carolina.
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina slashed the school system’s budget by $414 million in 2011, so the UNC system board of trustees is planning to set up tuition hikes to compensate for the lack of government funding. Students of UNC have begun protesting as a result, but how can the students not get angry when they expect to see an 8.8% hike in 2012-2013 and another 4.2% hike in 2013-2014?
UNC system president Tom Ross says that the hikes are a balance between the needs of the campuses and the ability of students to absorb tuition increases, especially since the hikes come along with cost cutting, added taxpayer support and securing more private donations to keep the schools going.
In short, state colleges and universities are feeling the pinch put on them by the state and federal governments. In fact, many states are beginning to scale back their funding programs.
One of the few methods they have to sustain their operations is to raise tuition fees, which prevents low-income students from getting the education they need to ascend the socio-economic ladder.
Obama’s drive to reward schools that manage to trim costs is just a band-aid solution to the core problem. Unless governments both federal and state throw in their financial support to provide grant for single moms, we will all be forced to carry the burden of educating ourselves.
And that is something that not all of us can handle given the current state of our nation’s economy.