Are Tuition Hikes Forced by Cuts in State Subsidies?

Today, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) voted to raise tuition by 7.5 percent for 2011-12.  Many have tried to place the blame solely on the reduction in state taxpayer subsidy in the budget.

But there is abundant evidence that the PASSHE did not need to raise tuition in response to cuts in its subsidy from taxpayers. From 2003-04 to 2010-11 state subsidies for PASSHE schools increased 21 percent, yet tuition escalated even faster—28 percent.

Many PASSHE schools dramatically hiked administrative spending in that time frame, including increases of 49 percent at Cal U, 38 percent at East Stroudsburg, 40 percent at IUP, 37 percent at Kutztown, and 42 percent at Millersville since 2003-04.

No, it isn’t a lack of tax dollars, but overspending that is driving tuition hikes.