57% Increase? You’ve Gotta Be Kidding!

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.

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