States have slashed funding to public colleges and universities over the past five years, as I explained earlier this week and we detail in our new paper. After adjusting for inflation, every state except North Dakota and Wyoming is spending less per student on higher education — 28 percent less, on average — than they did before the recession.
Consequently, as the chart below shows, the schools have increased tuition to help make up for lost state revenue. As a result, the average cost of attending a public college or university has surged.
Average annual published tuition at four-year public colleges — the “sticker price” — has grown by $1,850, or 27 percent, in real terms between the 2007-08 school year, the academic year that began just prior to the recession, and the current 2012-13 school year.
Tuition increases have been both substantial and widespread. Since the 2007-08 school year, after adjusting for inflation, the average tuition at public four-year colleges has increased by:
More than 50 percent in seven states;
More than 25 percent in 18 states; and
More than 15 percent in 40 states.
Two states, Arizona and California, have increased tuition by more than 70 percent.