Double-digit tuition hike likely for state colleges, universities

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 11:55am

Gov. Bill Haslam says he likely will vote this week for double-digit tuition increases for students at state universities and two-year community colleges.

The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees meets Thursday and the Board of Regents meets Friday to consider raising tuition by as much as 12 percent. Haslam acts as chairman of both boards.

“I probably will” vote for the increases, Haslam told reporters Tuesday. “I haven’t gone to the meeting yet, so we’ll see. I always reserve the right. But I would tend to say I would.”

Haslam said higher education suffers from decreasing state funding. But he also said administrators need to find new ways to cut costs and raise money privately.

“I think both systems understand that pricing middle-class families out of the education system is an issue,” the governor said. “But part of their issue is the state giving them less and less money. That’s just the reality. We’re going to have to figure out a way to address that.

“The pressure is on them to not say, 'Well, the way we’re going to solve the funding issue is to always have double-digit increases.' That can’t be the answer,” he added.

13 Comments on this post:

By: trtay2004 on 6/22/11 at 3:29

Dear God, please save our state from this governor and his administration. Help those that are trying to better their lives with rising education costs that are implemented by these extremely wealthy people that don't understand the heavy burden they place on the common man.

By: pswindle on 6/22/11 at 11:08


By: gdiafante on 6/23/11 at 6:22

They're trying to either price the average kid out of college or force them into debt to facilitate the student loan program.

By: EDUNITED on 6/23/11 at 6:58

Education "Prices" have risen 6,8,10,12 percent a year for the last decade or more. No one asks what's wrong with this picture. If a university can get more money by raising prices, and the government provides the funds, either through loans or subsidies, why not raise prices? That's what EVERY other business does from McDonalds to the Mom-and-Pop stores. Believe me, the education industry is a business.

It's time to demand that the Tennessee university system focus on teaching first. Increase the teaching load per instructor and reduce the number of administrators. The main cost driver in the education industry is the personnel cost of the "educators."

That said, the cost of a college education at Tennessee's public schools is relatively inexpensive. The "rich" can't fund all the desired perks of the "entitled," be they students or professors. Why shouldn't the student make some sacrifice for his or her education? My older, evening students (all working adults) valued their courses and did not complain about paying for them. They only complained if they thought I was not clearly presenting a topic. Teaching those students was exhausting but intellectually stimulating for me.

Ed vanVoorhees

By: gdiafante on 6/23/11 at 7:11

It's not the student that's making the sacrifice, other than obtaining a mountain of debt, it's the parents. Wages are stagnant, yet college tuition is rising significantly. How exactly are responsible parents supposed to keep up without mortgaging their future as well?

By: Radix on 6/23/11 at 8:50

Loopy, out-of-touch comments from the usual suspects. Far-lefties like to champion well-intended but completely unsustainable things. Free education is right I guess? LOL

If you looks at the private schools in the area, you will see how much a good education really costs. To see how cheap the state schools are by comparison, you will then see how subsidized they are by taxpayers. The state schools could have a 100% increase and still be cheaper than private schools, so get over it. Not everything is handed to you. If you want free school, try a socialist country like China or Venezuela. Their people are quite happy.

@PSWINDLE The wealthiest 2% in the country pay 50% of the taxes under the so-called "Bush tax cuts for the rich" is that not enough for you?

By: madridia on 6/23/11 at 9:32

EDUNITED, would you please cite some data for your claim that the "main cost driver in the education industry is the personnel cost of the "educators." " I find this claim highly suspect and will not buy it without evidence that the salaries of faculty at state universities has risen significantly in real dollars since the 1960s. If you can show me that data, then I will believe you. Otherwise, it is your opinion and nothing else.

Education may be a business, but state universities are not run for profit. You say "if the university can get more money by raising prices..." but the university does not operate by this logic. It is simply a matter of covering costs. So it is really about of the source of revenue. As Haslam admits, the state is not giving as much as it used to, and this is true for state universities nationally. If the state gives less, then someone else pays more, in this case, the students; which is unfortunate, because state schools were set up for those who couldn't pay the cost of the privates.

We can debate where costs can be cut, if that is the measure to take.
For my own opinion, I would wager that infrastructure is the largest cost, as fancy dorms, gyms, cafeterias and student unions, which are really peripheral to education itself, have become perceived "needs" for institutions of higher learning. You say it is educators' salaries, which I think is highly mistaken. But there is another question lurking in the background that needs asking: why do states no longer fund their university system at the level they used to? What is a more valuable public good to the citizens of Tennessee than education?

By: anjnew on 6/23/11 at 9:34

@ Radix....seriously! You must be one of the greedy rich who has never struggled, and had a silver spoon in your mouth. I am a full time employee and student, trying to survive the last thing I need is a tuition hike.

It's almost not worth going to school with the amount of student debt I have hanging over my head. If I had it to do over again I don’t know what decision I would make but I am in it this far.

And as far as private colleges, I attended Belmont for one semester and realized ITS NOT WORTH IT, so I transferred to a state school. I realized the education I get is what I make of it.;

By: madridia on 6/23/11 at 9:44

By the way, Radix, public schools are as good as private schools. Going to a private school has no predictive power when it comes to success in college when you control for things like grades, test scores, parents' level of education, etc. It does give you a fancy gym, better lighting for school plays,and importantly, more privileged social networks when it comes to finding a job and a spouse. But not necessarily a better education.

And in regard to your comment at PSWIDLE: you can't collect taxes from people who don't make a living wage. So cutting taxes for the wealthy doesn't actually change the ratio that you are citing (2% pays 50%). All it does is lower the amount in the public coffers. The rich will always pay more taxes because that is where the money is. How many roads could you pave with the tax revenue from the projects? The ratio that you should look at is percent income over time. Then pick the time periods when the economy was doing really well see if there is a relationship.

By: RTungsten on 6/23/11 at 2:17

Overall, college is far too expensive for many people and it's increasing at a rate 4x faster than the average worker pay. At some point it will become unaffordable for students to attend and these colleges, I suspect this is closer than many expect. Look at new grads trying to find a job right now, it's nearly impossible and college loans start soon after you get the diploma. I'd much rather see a halt on tuition increases for the next 5-10 years than us release oil from reserves because Obama needs some points in the next election.

PS: This is coming from someone who has a couple private school degrees (BBA and MBA) and was lucky enough to gradaute with no debt.

By: pswindle on 6/23/11 at 9:41

This has nothing to do with President Obama, He has released the oil to help bring down the oil prices. Have you forgotten what Bush did to this country? Your Governor said that he would sign the bill to screw the middle class some more.

By: RTungsten on 6/24/11 at 1:29

You are a complete fool if you think the 30mil barrels of oil will save the economy. We consume between 18mil and 20mil barrels PER DAY in North America. So we get 36 hours of "free" oil. Great plan, Obama. Way to really step it up.

Now, if we want to get out of the housing mess, it's going to be the younger generation who leads us out. And they can't buy a house with 100k in student loans and no jobs. Freeze the tuition increases and allow bankruptcies to reset the interest portion on student loans (not principle, just interest reset) and we'll have a better chance of not screwing an entire generation. But yeah...that oil is going to save us.

And why don't you spend a hard earned dollar at Red Box and check out "Inside Job" so you can see who Obama picked to lead the nation out of this financial mess. Spoiler alert: It's the same people who got us into it.

By: pswindle on 6/24/11 at 12:06

Are you talking about Bush/Cheney? I do no think that the American people want to hear the name Bush/Cheney's name again; two wars. drugs for seniors not paid for. That is just a few things that caused this mess. Oh I forgot, the unregulated Corporations running amuck. They tried to destroy our country and they wanted to make America a military state so they could remain in power. Where do you get your news? From Fox. I bet.