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Why tuition costs are skyrocketing
A new report by Demos, a liberal think-tank that focuses on economic justice issues, explores the crisis of high tuition costs. - photo by JJ Feinauer
It's no secret that tuition costs are skyrocketing to unsettling levels.

"Increases in college tuition at public colleges, particularly in recent years, have really been unacceptable," the Urban Institute's Sandy Baum told NPR's Claudio Sanchez last year. "And there's no question that that is a much higher percentage of median [family] incomes than it used to be."

More controversial than the basic idea that costs are out of control are the explanations for why it's happening.

According to The New York Times' Paul F. Campos, tuition rates are more the victim of "the constant expansion of university administration" than state-funded budget cuts.

But a new report by Demos, a liberal think-tank that focuses on economic justice issues, begs to differ. According their assessment, state funding is exactly the problem.

"Because education and related expenses are funded nearly entirely by tuition and state monies," the study says, "declining state support has caused a dramatic shift in the share of these expenses paid for by students and the government."

Demos provides two charts to drive home this point:

One showing that state funding has dropped dramatically since 2001.

And one that shows the "size of the contribution" of all the different factors in increasing college costs. Decreased state support comes in first place by a large margin.

You can read the rest of the report at Demos.
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