By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE - In-state college tuition costs have exceeded the rate of inflation around the country in the last 6 years, and the Rhode Island area has been no exception.
In-state tuition at the University of Rhode Island has risen 38.9 percent since the 2006-2007 academic year. During the same six-year period, in-state tuition at Rhode Island College rose 30.9 percent and tuition at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth rose 35.9 percent.
For the 2012-2013 academic school year, in-state tuition for URI was $11,366, compared with $8,184 during the 2006-2007 school year. RIC saw tuition rise from $5,771 to $7,558 during that period and UMass Dartmouth saw tuition rise from $8,592 to $11,681.
According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, state colleges, which were once considered an affordable alternative to private colleges, can now cost more than $15,000 a year, including tuition and required fees.
“For generations of Americans, public colleges and universities offered an affordable option for earning a college degree. Now, cash-strapped states across the country are cutting funding for colleges and directing scarce resources to primary and secondary schooling, Medicaid and prisons,” said the Wall Street Journal, adding that these funding cuts are shifting more and more of the cost of higher education to students and their families.
The most expensive state college this year was the University of Pittsburgh, which cost Pennsylvania residents $16,590 in tuition and fees for the 2012-2013 school year.
During the six years analyzed, University of Alabama Birmingham students saw tuition prices increase the most, with a 127 percent hike between the 2006-2007 academic year and the 2012-2013 academic year.
According to Journal’s report, a number of factors have helped to fuel the soaring cost of public colleges, such as administrative costs (including pay hikes for college administrators), declining teaching loads for tenured faculty and increased spending on fancier dorms, dining halls and gyms.