College tuition in the United States will soon be a full 500 percent — more than four times the rate of inflation — of what it was in 1984. And not just at elite private colleges, where a negligible percentage of students come from families without means.
More perplexing is the tuition inflation at state and regional universities, at which the vast majority of college-bound Americans earn their degrees. My friends in my hometown of Eugene, Ore., are looking at yearly in-state tuition topping $9,600 for their children at the U of O (if, that is, the townies they spawned can beat out all the Californians). My former students at Ohio State University, a “public ivy,” pay $10,010; my current crop at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a plucky regional that is one of Washington Monthly’s best “bangs for your buck,” pay $9,474. None of these rates includes room, board or books.
Schuman is a writer and adjunct professor at the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Slate