States consider lowering tuition

Washington state made national headlines this year when lawmakers approved a budget slashing tuition for four-year college students by up to 20 percent by next year.

And the state could prove to be a trendsetter.

An article published this week by the Pew Charitable Trust details how other states are trying to tackle the rise in tuition costs.

“A growing number of states are trying to rein in the price students and their families pay to attend public colleges and universities. Tuition rose sharply during the Great Recession after states cut higher education funding. Now student loan debt is approaching $1 trillion nationally, and even upper-income families are worried about rising college costs. And legislatures are under pressure to bring prices down,” Pew reported.

Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin all froze some aspect of their tuition, either in-state at two or four-year schools, and the University of Maine kept tuition flat.

But it won’t be easy to reverse the trend of skyrocketing student tuition.

“It’s not likely that states will return to subsidizing colleges the way they did a generation ago. Most states are spending less per student today than they were before the recession,” the article states.

And Pew found despite the concern, families are still not choosing more affordable universities.

For Jessie Gamble, though, the tuition cut came as welcome news.

“I’m crying right now because I’m so happy,” University of Washington student Jessie Gamble was quoted as saying after the Legislature approved the cut.

Her in-state tuition with fees and without considering living expenses is currently $11,839, Pew reports.

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or Follow her on Twitter .

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