Average tuition costs – the amount students paid in tuition and fees after state and institutional aid was taken into account — rose by 8.3% to an average of $5,189 in the 2011-12 school year, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association reported. In the previous academic year, students paid an average of $4,793.
At the same time, state and local funding for operating expenses, research and student aid fell by 9% to $5,896, the lowest level in 25 years, said association president Paul Lingenfelter.
The upward trend is likely to continue in 2013, since state governments plan to spend 10.8 percent less on higher education this year than they did in the year prior to the Great Recession. Only 12 states now spend more on higher education than they did before the recession. The decrease in funding has contributed to the six-fold increase in college tuition over the last 30 years.
Still, Americans are graduating from college at record rates, but they are doing so while accruing more debt. The number of Americans carrying student loan debt is at record levels, and that has had consequences throughout the economy, especially since earnings for college graduates are declining.