Most college students have a simple fact drilled into their heads by now: college tuition costs far too much.
Some think the universities take advantage of a culture in which a college education is invaluable to employers. Others cite the several building projects that universities continue to pour money into.
Although some colleges and universities seem money-hungry over the years with their exorbitant prices, very few naysayers point the finger at what is truly to blame: state government.
According to a USA Today article released last week on the subject, a decrease in state funding is to blame for this issue. When state universities do not receive the funding they need from the state government for general operating costs, tuitions rise and professors lose jobs.
Why should Virginia Tech students care if the state government funding is not there to offset skyrocketing tuition costs? For one thing, most students will have to pay back most of this money after they graduate. Virginia is one of the states that hurt the most from these spending cuts. Over the past five years, the amount of state and local funds per full-time student decreased by 34.3 percent. As students, this funding that the school no longer receives becomes slack that we have to pick up through higher tuitions.
Only Washington, Arizona, South Carolina, Idaho, Florida and New Hampshire had more trouble providing funding to their universities between the years of 2007 and 2012.
Based on the funds per student totals provided by the chart in the USA Today article, and assuming there are around 23,796 full-time undergraduates that pay tuition, the university lost approximately $53 million last year in state funding. This number does not include taxes and other various expenses that are far beyond my understanding of business.
The numbers and math involved can be a little overwhelming, but this is the reality of the situation. State governments need to find somewhere else to make cutbacks. Slowing down funding to universities hurts students, professors and parents who pay for their son or daughter’s schooling.
College tuition cost hikes continue to exceed inflation rates by ridiculous amounts. The problem will not ameliorate unless state and federal governments work together on a plan to provide the proper funding to universities.
I find this quite unlikely, however, as the word “compromise” is a difficult concept for current politicians.
But stay calm, Tech students. They may decide to come up with an economically sound plan to fix this in the next twenty years, so your kids may be spared.