57%. That’s the number making my jaw drop.
My daughter is thinking about going to NC State. I saw a link in the NY Times website to a brief profile of NC State. So I clicked on it. While the profile hasn’t been updated in quite a while (not since 2008, I’d guess), it did show the “Tuition and Fees” for 2008: $5,274 for a North Carolina resident.
I then made the mistake of checking the tuition and fees for A.D. 2013: $8,296.
If my arithmetic is correct (and I know it is), that’s an increase of 57.3% over the past 5 years! The increase in the CPI over those same 5 five years was 8.2%. The tuition at NCSU increased 7 times the rate of inflation! (If the tuition merely matched the overall inflation rate, it would be $5,706 for 2013-2014.)
How can this rise possibly be justified? Is any of the following remotely true?
- Is the economy 57% better in than in 2008?
- Are 57% more students being graduated than in 2008?
- Are 57% more graduates finding jobs (and if so, are those job in the fields they studied, or are they working at Starbucks)?
- Are starting salaries for graduates 57% higher than in 2008?
- Are students learning 57% more than in 2008?
- Is the average NC State parent earning 57% more than in 2008?
- Would a recent graduate be willing to pay 57% more for the education he or she received?
I think we can agree that the answer to all these questions is a resounding “No”. So how can this be justified, or at least explained? I have some theories, none of them flattering to the UNC administration or our governments. That’s a topic for another rant.