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Useful Stats: 2-year and 4-year College Affordability by State

March 07, 2003

The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education recently released The Rising Price of Higher Education, which documents the rising costs of public education in the U.S. Using the data found in the report, SSTI has constructed a 50-state table presenting a comparison of the cost of tuition and fees at 2- and 4-year public institutions in 2001-02 vs 2002-03.

For 4-year institutions, Massachusetts shows the greatest change, 23.7 percent, between the last two academic years. Missouri's average public tuition and fees for 4-year institutions in 2002-03 reflects a 20.1 percent increase over the previous year. In the same category, New Jersey tops all states with the highest average ($6,533), as its overall increase was 13.4 percent.

New Hampshire leads all states in average 2-year public tuition and fees ($4,429), but South Carolina and Massachusetts boast the greatest change in such costs, 26.2 percent and 25.5 percent, respectively.

The table is located at: http://www.ssti.org/Digest/Tables/030703t.htm

The Rising Costs of Public Education report can be downloaded at: http://www.highereducation.org/reports/affordability_supplement/index.shtml

On a related note, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) has announced he will introduce federal legislation that would impose price controls on university tuitions. The College Affordability in Higher Education Act of 2003 will officially be unveiled Saturday in a speech to the Education Finance Council in California.

McKeon's bill calls for creating a "College Affordability Index" to serve as a standard measurement for institutions of higher education whose tuitions and fees increase beyond reasonable rates. If an institution increases its cost of attendance by twice the rate of inflation, that institution must provide the Department of Education with an explanatory statement and a strategic plan to hold down future tuition increases and improve the affordability of their college or university. If the rate of increase is not reduced (to less than two times the rate of inflation) within one year, sanctions are triggered, including withdrawal of its eligibility for government financial assistance.

More information will be available at: http://www.house.gov/mckeon/