The Greenville News tells us about a report that says South Carolina’s colleges rate an “F” in affordability:
South Carolina got an “F” in college affordability on a national higher education report card released today, underscoring a concern cited by members of South Carolina’s Higher Education Study Committee.
Poor and working-class families must devote 34 percent of their income, even after aid, to pay for costs at public four-year colleges, according to the 2008 higher education report card, Measuring Up 2008, from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
We have high tuition here in South Carolina, and it’s gone up quite a bit over the eight or so years I’ve been teaching. Why tuition has been skyrocketing – and it’s gone up a lot not only among the four year schools mentioned in the article, but at South Carolina’s two-year colleges as well – isn’t really a mystery. Look at state funding. While college enrollment has been increasing, state funding for colleges has been decreasing. Even before the massive budget cuts we’ve been having in higher education this year, the budget for our two year schools was less than it was eight years ago. (I assume that four year schools have similar issues.) So what do schools have to do? Raise tuition to make up some of the shortfall.
It should not surprise us that when we shortchange higher education, we end up with higher education that is more inacessible to those of us most in need of a quality education.
Edited to add:
Apparently, affordability is not graded on a curve. In the original report referenced above, almost every state joined South Carolina in an “F” for affordability. Probably for the same reasons, too.