Who's to Blame for Rising Tuition?

May 5, 2015 | | Inside Higher Ed |

Public university students today pay $3,000 more in annual tuition than their counterparts a decade ago. 

Why that is depends on whom you ask. Some pundits like to blame administrative bloat or the construction boom. Within higher education, many cite the decline in state support.

“Although academics and media alike have tried to put the question to rest, public confusion on this issue is one reason why effective solutions remain illusory in almost every state,” asserts a report released today by Demos, a left-leaning New York public policy think tank.

The report attempts to pinpoint the factors driving up the price for students seeking a four-year degree at a public college. It asserts that while rising administrative and construction costs are a factor, they’re not as gargantuan as widely believed. A decline in state funding is the real culprit, says author Robbie Hiltonsmith, a senior policy analyst with Demos.

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