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Thursday, March 8, 2012

State Colleges Cut Popular Programs Amid Tuition Hikes

Times are so tough at public colleges and universities that many are being forced to cut programs in areas that the economy needs the most to grow. Health care, computer science and engineering have all been slashed, even though they are among the most popular programs with students.

The reason: money.

The New York Times reports that the recession has led states to cut back on funding to public colleges by 7.6 percent in the past year. And in hard-hit areas like Arizona, state funding to public colleges has been cut by 31 percent since 2007. At the same time, tuition costs have been skyrocketing.

The Times found that tuition at public colleges and universities jumped nearly 600 percent in the past 25 years. During the same period, consumer goods went up by 200 percent.

So students are paying more and getting less.

Many students, who are turned away from state schools and community colleges, end up at for-profit colleges like Kaplan or Phoenix.

Catherine Rampell, economics reporter for the New York Times, says that means that the public is still subsidizing higher education, since those for-profit schools target students who rely on federal grants and loans.

For-profit schools tend to graduate fewer students than state universities, leading experts to question if public education funds are being put to the best use.

Guest:

  • Catherine Rampell, New York Times economics reporter

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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