Why is tuition so high?

Just look at the reductions in state funding.  If Tennessee's governor gets his way, however, we may get some relief locally. From Time.

Students at Public Universities, Colleges Will Bear the Burden of Reduced Funding for Higher Education
Over the past year, state funding for higher education has declined by nearly 8%. In real terms, that amounts to $6 billion less being funneled into the nation’s public colleges and universities at a time when the demand for the degrees they provide is at an all-time high.

According to the annual Grapevine report from the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, 41 states reduced funding as a result of the slow economic recovery and the end of federal stimulus funds. Of those, 29 states allocated less money in the 2011-12 school year than they did in the pre-recession 2006-07 school year. And further, 14 states reduced funds by more than 10%. In the most extreme case, New Hampshire reduced public funding for its colleges and universities by 41%; at the other end of the spectrum, North Carolina decreased funding by only 1%, and nine states managed to increase total state spending for higher ed.
As state money declines, universities are left with no choice but to put more of the financial burden on students — the same students who are already taking on more debt than ever recorded. “There’s an awful lot of substitution of student money for state money,” said Dennis Jones, president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. “The first reaction is always to increase tuition.” At the same time, also as a result of the cuts, schools are curtailing need-based financial aid programs. “Students are being hit with a double whammy — higher cost and less help,” Jones added.
But not only are students footing more of the bill, they are getting less bang for their buck. In order to compensate for the lack of funds, universities have made a host of significant changes — and almost none of them are good for students.


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