|Public universities rely on tuition|
|Written by Lisa Crocco Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Thursday, 03 February 2011 16:30|
Public universities are relying more on tuition than state money to cover most of the school’s budget expenses due to the recession.
Many states do not have the money to cover the expenses of public universities and the funds for higher education are likely to shrink even further, which then leaves public universities more dependent on tuition money.
“The state cut their appropriations to higher education drastically over the past few decades,” Sherrilyn Billger, associate professor of economics, said.
With the recent complaints about the tax increase, the public in Illinois wants a low tax rate and if they don’t have the revenue coming in, then it has to be cut from somewhere. It seems like it has been following with what the public want which is less public funding for education and more private funding, meaning tuition, Billger said.
For many students, trying to afford the current price tag to attend a public university comes at a high cost. Many students have to take out loans, apply for grants and work part-time jobs to pay for their rising tuition cost.
“I see it a lot in my classes too. A lot of my students try to hold down jobs at the same time and then it can be difficult to get all assignments in on time, sometimes grades suffer. It is really problematic,” Billger said.
Despite the moderately high tuition, Ross Hodel, center director for the study of educational policy, said students are still getting a good value at ISU.
“It certainly has implications to getting an access to higher education,” Hodel said.
“For the first time in 25 years or more, people are beginning to ask if higher education is worth it and they see the average student graduating with a lot of student loans and I think it is a fair question to ask and examine carefully,” Hodel said.
Graduates who are unemployed and out of a job will get a job in about half the time an unemployed person without a college degree would, Hodel said.
Hodel added that it is still important for middle America to have access to higher education, but it is becoming harder for students who don’t have financial resources or are first generation students.
“ISU has done a great job of setting money aside to provide funding to needy students and severely needy students. They are setting aside considerably more than most public universities in Illinois. They have a very good record of that over the past few years,” Hodel said.
Billger said by raising tuition prices at public universities, there is often a change in the make-up of the student body.
“The student body at ISU is becoming a lot more wealthy. The types of people who can come to ISU changes,” Billger said.
She also added that another place the university is trying to get funds besides raising the cost of tuition is from alums and corporations.
“The best thing that students can do is to be a political voice for change by getting involved with their legislators, perhaps more organization or social networks, students getting together and taking a stand,” Billger said.