Column: Students will need break from tuition rise

(Lafayette) Journal and Courier

A recent report that college students this year were paying an average of 4.8 percent more in tuition and fees barely made a ripple.

Perhaps that was because the increase was the smallest one reported by the College Board in 12 years. The nonprofit higher education advocacy group put the figure at $8,655 for U.S. public schools.

As a comparison, in-state Purdue University students are paying $9,900 for the 2012-13 school year.

The increase was being billed as “modest” by the College Board and by various media accounts. But just as it works with health care increases, which typically outstrip the rate of inflation with ease, the price to attend college continues to grow more quickly than U.S. family incomes.

During campaigns for Statehouse positions, we’ve heard rumblings from candidates about getting serious about pulling Indiana’s state universities back to earth on tuition. We heard about tuition freezes. We heard about better tracking of state money as it flowed from Indianapolis to campus. But mainly, here in Purdue’s backyard, we heard some fuzzy approaches to keeping schools affordable but still allowing universities to thrive.

One thing’s for sure: Eventually students are going to need to catch a break. Celebrating a 4.8 percent increase in tuition isn’t the ticket.

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