Remember this post I wrote in March about Arizona universities and their recent trend of tuition hikes? A decade a go tuition at all three four-year universities in Arizona hovered around $3,000, but since then it has risen dramatically – I was paying around $5,000 from 2007-2011, and this year’s freshmen class are paying $10,000.
I was upset by the trend that Arizona universities were following, but I had no idea that they far out-paced the rest of the country’s public universities. An article in the State Press highlighted a recent report from College Board, stating:
Arizona’s four-year public universities had the nation’s largest in-state tuition and fees increase over the past five years, according the nonprofit organization that oversees the SAT.
The College Board’s report said in-state tuition and fees in Arizona increased 70 percent when adjusted for inflation from academic year 2008-09 to 2013-14. The national average was 27 percent.
Out-of-state tuition and fees in Arizona increased 28 percent during the same period, 11th highest in the nation. Louisiana, which had a 69 percent increase, was highest. The national average was 19 percent.
When the state gutted public funding to the state universities, the burden of funding education fell on Arizonans – people whose families had already contributed to the universities through taxes. And, as usually happens when I comment on Arizona’s tuition woes, I want to remind everyone that the state constitution says that higher education is supposed to be as free as possible. Just this week, friends of the blog Aaron Bady and Angus Johnston both wrote about the prospect of free higher education. This shouldn’t be a fantasy – higher education was once affordable to most, and it can be again.