Who’s to Blame for the Rising Costs of Higher Ed?

Rendell’s FY 2010-11 budget funds state related universities at the same level as FY 2009-10 budget. University officials claim they need an increase in state funding to keep tuition affordable. Penn State President Spainer said:

“There has been no increase in state financial support for the four state-related universities for the past 10 years, which is putting increased pressure on student tuition, since university costs for salaries, utilities, food and other things continue to rise.”

True, but this is only part of the story. State subsidies for state-related institutions have remained fairly steady in the last ten years, but the amount of PHEAA grants, federal pell grants, subsidies for student loans, and research grants have increased dramatically. Yet tuition continues to rise.

Additionally Pennsylvania universities will receive millions in stimulus money. Here’s a list of Penn State contracts, grant,s and loans funded by the stimulus as of October 2009 totaling, $67 million.

While state system schools are requesting more funds they are also looking at cost savings measures including consolidating unpopular majors and even eliminating programs at some schools.

The wealth, not the lack, of government subsidies is the true cause of rising higher education costs.