The Cost of Community College Is Surging

Barry Lenson

The Cost of Community College Is Surging

“Costlier Community Colleges,” a post by Derek Quizon on the Inside Higher Ed blog, delivers some bad news for American students who are hoping to reduce college costs by attending community colleges.

Citing figures from the National Center for Education Statistics, Quizon reports that the costs of community college education are rising dramatically – and that the increases are outpacing the growth in average family income.

The ability or states to increase the number of students graduating college, Quizon writes, “will be increasingly unlikely . . . if tuition at public two-year institutions continues to rise sharply as it has since 1999, far outpacing the rise in median family income in every state except Maine . . . The gap was most dramatic in South Carolina, where median family income fell by about 5 percent over that time, while tuition rose more than 100 percent. Median family income saw only modest gains in California and Virginia, while tuition increases hovered around 80 percent.”

It will be difficult for those states, and others as well, to improve the situation, given budget deficits and already-growing cuts in educational funding. As a result, students will suffer - not just any students, but those who are already turning to community colleges to help defray the high costs of obtaining a college degree.

Funding, of course, is the solution. But where will it come from? At the moment, that is a question that appears to have no answer.

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