OUR TIME DAILY TRANSLATION
We've heard you say it many times: "Politics is like a foreign language." Well, we agree.
Each week, we summarize, simplify, and interpret different major news stories and how they affect our generation. We'll give you our take, and you can decide for yourself.
A major factor in tuition increases at public institutions has been the withdrawal of state and local funding. The proportion of their revenues that public colleges and universities received from state appropriations dropped from 38.3 percent in 1991-1992 to 24.4 percent in 2008-2009.
Prices for tuition and fees at public universities more than doubled between 1990-1991 and 2009-2010, rising by 112.5 percent, while prices of two-year colleges rose 71 percent.
From 1990-1991 to 2010-2011, total state appropriations rose from $65.1 billion to $75.6 billion. But state funding actually declined in relative terms.
States reoriented their financial aid programs away from need-based assistance to merit-based aid, which favors wealthier students. Students not only pay more than they used to but also borrow more extensively.
WHY WE SHOULD CARE
State appropriations generally contribute a much larger share of public university revenue than tuition, so any specific percentage reduction in state aid requires much larger percentage rises in tuition. These hikes can price low- and moderate-income students out of higher education.
OUR TIME OPINION
Every young American should have access to an affordable quality education regardless of their financial background. Our legislators need get to work and find ways to make tuition rates more reasonable and keep student loan costs down!