Busting the Myth That State Subsidies Prevent College Tuition Rising

Myth BustedUniversities consistently blame state budget cuts for rising tuition, but in reality, tuition has risen regardless of state subsidies. Here’s my letter exposing this myth in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer:

The editorial on cuts to higher education in Gov. Corbett’s budget perpetuates the myth that state subsidies prevent tuition hikes (“Corbett again targets colleges,” Feb. 8). Taxpayers provided nearly $3.5 billion to Penn State over the last decade, while tuition doubled to $15,250. And subsidies of $1.9 billion did not prevent tuition from doubling at Temple. In fact, tuition rose even in years when the state subsidy increased. Most interesting, though, is that despite state cuts to taxpayer subsidies, Penn State’s tuition hike last year was the lowest percentage increase in a decade.

If we truly want to make higher education within reach for families, why not tie state subsidies to tuition caps?

The cost of higher education is clearly out of control, but fanning the flames by distributing large chunks of money to institutions with no strings attached does nothing to lighten the burden on students or their parents.