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In the early 70s, I was paying $17/credit hour, regardless of major, at Whatsamatta U, so a full time load of 13 hrs cost $221. A CPI inflation calculator puts that at $1,168.62 today. Today, Whatsamatta U wants $4,732.00/semester for a B school major. Engineering, the major I started with, now costs $5,292. In addition to the major based tuition, everyone pays another $445.50 in fees.

A large part of the inflation-adjusted tuition increase at public universities is due to cost shifting. There has been a massive decline in state funding for public universities. As a result, tuition has risen, and costs have shifted from taxpayers to students. Public universities have gone from being a largely taxpayer supported public good to a private fee-for-service model.

Depending on your views, you might think this is good or bad. What is noteworthy is that this change in public policy has been largely invisible and has happened without much public discussion. I doubt it has been an issue in any election, yet it was implemented by our elected officials.

For example, here is a quote from an article by Liberty Street Economics, whoever that is.
"In the public discourse, federal funding is often blamed for driving up tuition. However, our analysis suggests that public schools are increasing tuition as a way to make up for decreasing state and local appropriations for higher education, and that deeper cuts in public funding may be associated with correspondingly greater tuition hikes."
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