Food for Thought - Education at the Tipping Point

As tuition levels have steadily increased, institutions and industry watchers have often wondered what the tipping point is – when students start turning away from higher education because it is simply out of reach.  Some suggest that the time is near, as the down economy, diminished public funding, and stubbornly high unemployment rates make it difficult for institutions to deliver students the same value they once received for their investment. What strategies does your institution use to address increasing student financial need?

 

Surging College Costs Price Out Middle Class

Source: CNN Money

Date: 6/13/11

What do you get when college costs skyrocket but incomes barely budge? Yet another blow to the middle class. "As the out-of-pocket costs of a college education go up faster than incomes, it's pricing low and medium income families out of a college education," said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of financial aid sites FinAid.org and FastWeb.com. The numbers confirm what most middle class families already know -- college is becoming so expensive, it's starting to hold them back. The crux of the problem: Tuition and fees at public universities, according to the College Board, have surged almost 130% over the last 20 years -- while middle class incomes have stagnated

 

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U of M President Proposes Tuition Hike, Staff Cuts

Source: Grand Forks Herald

Date: 6/10/11

The University of Minnesota will eliminate hundreds of jobs, cut millions of dollars in academic programs, freeze wages and raise tuition rates as part of a budget presented by outgoing President Robert Bruininks. "We have to budget and plan for the worst-case scenario," Bruininks said at a meeting of the university's Board of Regents. That scenario includes a cut of $71 million in state aid to $520.3 million next year. That's the figure the Republican-controlled Legislature has passed and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed as too low. If their stalemate over the state budget continues through July 1, the state government could shut down and state funding for the university system would stop.

 

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Related Coverage in Kansas and Michigan.

 

UK: After Rise in Fees, One-Third of Middle-Income Parents Say University Education is Not Worth the Price

Source: The Telegraph

Date: 6/15/11

Although fees are rising, the earnings threshold for repayments is higher and students will pay off less every month than currently. Debts are wiped out after 30 years and a third of graduates may never repay the full amount. However, Lord Baker suggested that more children should pursue practical courses, such as apprenticeships, as an alternative to higher education.

 

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