Recession could be to blame for higher ed tuition spike

By Samantha Jones Toal

According to a study by Young Invincibles’ Third Annual State Report Cards, the recession of 2007 might be the cause behind the spike in college tuition across the U.S.ss

Average in-state tuition across the country has increased by an average of 28 percent since the beginning of the 2008 school yearss, following the December 2007 recession, according to the study.

Ultimately, the economic slowdown caused a decrease in state higher-education budgets, causing public institutions to raise their price tag.

“State governments have been cutting back their support for public universities and that is the overwhelming reason and consensus statistically,” said Walter McMahon, professor emeritus of economicsss. “There’s been a shift from state support to more student support for tuition.”

In reality, the nationwide expenditure per students at four-year universities has slightly decreased from 2007 to 2015 according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, McMahon said.

While the Young Invincibles’ study cited Illinois as having one of the smallest cuts to state funding for higher education since the recession — there has been a 9% reduction since 2007ss — it later on mentions that Illinois has the fifth highest in-state tuition for four-year public colleges in the U.S.

“It’s kind of disappointing,” said Rohan Subramaniamss, freshman in Engineering. “If you keep increasing tuition, you get some issues with the lower middle class being able to afford college.”

He said lower class students will often receive financial aid, and upper class students will be able to afford college, but the middle class will suffer.

McMahon also shared some of the same concerns.

“The University of Illinois has reached the limit, it just can’t reach raise tuition much higher,” he said. “We lose students to other universities and it also discourages the middle class to come to the University of Illinois.”

Base tuition for in-state students has risen from $9,242 in the 2008-2009 academic year to $12,036 in the 2015-2016 academic year. Once students enroll at the University they are guaranteed tuition for four years.

McMahon said the University has reached its limit on raising tuition but said he doesn’t think it will never increase again.

“You can see what the state is doing, they’re not supporting the University. The University is under stress,” he said.

Despite the question of state funding, President Timothy Killeen said the University is committed to keeping tuition affordable for the average middle class family at a Senate Executive Committee meeting Monday.

Killeen said the University’s decision not to raise tuition marks the second year of tuition freezes and that the class of 2020 will be paying the same amount of tuition as students entering the University in 2014.

Still, some students are concerned about the cost of tuition.

“It’s kind of sad because we’re paying tax dollars, too. It’s like, come on, we deserve it,” Subramaniam said.

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