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This new trend in college tuition could be devastating for upward mobility
The concept of in-state tuition may be going extinct, which could mean upward mobility is in major trouble. - photo by JJ Feinauer
The concept of in-state tuition may be going extinct, which could mean upward mobility is in major trouble.

"Over the last decade, state governments and universities have been chipping away at a pillar of American opportunity," The Upshot's Kevin Carey wrote on Monday, referring to the shrinking cost gap between in-state and out-of-state tuition.

"Part of this story is familiar to anyone who has watched public universities raise tuition and fees," he continued. "But theres another, less obvious, part of the story. Many of the most elite public universities are steadily restricting the number of students who are allowed to pay in-state tuition in the first place."

According to Carey, this "creeping privatization of elite public universities" has the potential to seriously limit "one of the most important paths to upward mobility."

By eliminating cost reductions for the more prestigious state schools, he argues, those looking to get out of the lower-class income bracket by taking advantage of the more affordable opportunities of well-regarded state universities will begin to find it increasingly more difficult to cover their tuition costs.

The disappearance of benefits for in-state students is part of a larger trend, according to Carey, that contributes to the rocketing costs of college.

According to the liberal think-tank Demos, college costs are rising so rapidly because of "declining support" from state governments. States are investing less in higher education, the report argues, and tuition is rocketing upward as a result.

Because of this, politicians who have the presidency in their sights are working to curb the rising costs. The most recent proposal, and the most optimistic, is expected to come from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who recently entered the presidential race as a Democrat.

According to Bloomberg's Ali Elking, Sanders plans to propose legislation this week that will "provide tuition-free higher education to students at four-year colleges." It's an ambitious plan that one-ups President Obama's proposal earlier this year to make all community colleges tuition free by extending that benefit to four-year public universities.

According to Elkin, Sanders' plan "is modeled after the way many European nations handle the costs of college," and is expected to push Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton into proposing a plan of her own to cut college costs.

"Countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden and many more are providing free or inexpensive higher education for their young people," Elkin quotes Sanders as saying in a public statement.

"They understand how important it is to be investing in their youth. We should be doing the same."
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