Budgets are getting squeezed in practically every state in the U.S. In an increasingly conservative fiscal climate, one of the biggest items on the chopping block nationwide is education funding, which is leading to drastically less funding for state universities. The cost of higher education is likely to get higher as many universities will need tuition hikes to keep up.
Higher education budgets slashed in 43 states
A total of 43 states have had to cut funding for higher education during the recession of the past few years, according to MSNBC, and it is not a trend that will likely be reversing soon. During times of fiscal hardship, higher education is one of the first spending items on a budget to find itself in the cross hairs of legislators — especially because raising taxes is tantamount to political suicide. As a result of deep cuts to state funds for higher eduction and fewer federal funds to go around, tuition hikes will not be far behind. More students will have to take out considerably larger personal loans for a post-secondary education.
Federal funding slashed
Legislators at the federal level are also focusing on spending cuts, and federal funding for higher education has fallen under the ax in recent months. Federal Pell Grants, which provide financial aid based on need, could be reduced by up to $5.7 billion in the 2012 national budget, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The maximum amount of the Pell could be reduced to just more than $4,000 per year, which is not enough to cover the cost of tuition at most four year universities. The cost of attending one year at a public, non-profit university is $16,140, according to College Board.
Harder to go to college
College Board, the educational organization that creates and administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), asserts that enrollment at public universities has increased by 33 percent in the last 10 years. Tuition at public four-year universities has increased by at least 6 percent per year since 2001, and students will bear the brunt of those increases. The installment loans needed to pay for school will be larger, and the sheer cost of attending college may become a disincentive.