Dec 082008
Authors: The Rocky Mountain Collegian Editorial Board

Last week, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education gave Colorado an “F” for college affordability on its annual national report card.

Colorado, however, was not alone.

Following a national trend of exponentially increasing college tuition rates, up over 400 percent since the early 1980s, every state in the land of opportunity received the same failing grade with the exception of California.

So why is it that families can no longer pay for that invaluable, framed piece of paper declaring one’s credibility in the workforce? The solution, inevitably, can be linked to the current economic state partnered with tuition rates that burn holes through the pockets of America.

According to recent economic reports, tuition averages now exceed the national inflation rate, and this partnered with decreases in state and national funding to higher education institutions, is the economic downfall.

This phenomenon is evidenced by a drop in funding for Pell Grants, which provide money to low-income, need-based undergraduates to attend college.

Reports from 2006-2007 show an average increase for public four-year colleges of 6.3 percent, pushing tuition rates to $5,836 for in-state students. Private four-year institutions have seen tuition increase 5.9 percent and 4.1 for community colleges.

Last year and close to home, CSU students were faced with a possible tuition hike when former President Larry Penley added a last-minute provision to the Long Appropriations Bill that would have raised tuition by 43 percent.

It seems, until federal and state funding are improved and the current economic state is reversed, students are left to fend for themselves to fund their college educations.

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