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Public colleges are becoming less public, fueling inequality

Market Watch

In every state except Wyoming, the share of revenue that public colleges receive from tuition — aka students and families — has grown since 2001, according to an analysis released Thursday by Demos, a left-leaning think tank. And in 24 states, tuition covered more than half of public colleges’ revenue in 2016. Compare that to public colleges of the past, which got much of their money from state and local funding, and kept the costs for families relatively low. In some cases, they were even free.

“Tuition is far too high, grant aid is far too insufficient,” said Mark Huelsman, a senior policy analyst at Demos and the author of the report. “If you add on top of that minimum wages that haven’t increased in a lot of states, the affordability crisis becomes a pretty massive issue.” More specifically, Huelsman added, the challenges of paying for college have become “both a racial justice issue, and also an economic justice issue.” [...]

“We have a system that’s becoming more and more expensive that is requiring a massive amount of family savings or is really unattainable without debt,” Huelsman said.