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More than 15% increase in 40 states

US plans to invest more in universities

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Mary Beth Marklein and Michael Auslen write in USA Today that among states that are considering either or both of these measures are Iowa, Nebraska, Montana and Minnesota, where public university administrators have agreed not to raise tuition this year in exchange for higher funding levels. Budget proposals from governors in New Hampshire and California include similar deals for legislators’ consideration.

For students and public universities alike, “things are more optimistic-looking in the next 12 months compared with the last half-decade,” says Daniel Hurley, spokesman for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Although more limited, the news is good even in states where the tuition is set to rise this year. Compared to hikes as high as 20% in previous years, almost everywhere universities are making an effort to keep increases to single digits for the next academic year. After an 20% increase in 2010, the University of Arizona – Tuscon is only approving a 3.4% increase this fall.

Still, there are exceptions. In Louisiana and Colorado lawmakers have given a green light to university administrators on tuition hikes that are as high as 10% annually since 2010. The money was supposed to offset cuts in public funding made necessary by revenue drops due to the recession.

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