The Five Largest State Tuition Hikes

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Tuition HikePaying for college is hard enough when tuition price are steady. Throw in a tuition hike and the extra costs can be game changing for families. According to the College Board, tuition and fees at public four-year colleges increased 8.3 percent, on average, between the 2011-2012 school year and the year before, but ten states saw jumps of more than 10 percent. Here are five states with the largest tuition hikes according to the College Board, and what to do if you’re a victim.


One-year tuition increase: 20.5%
Five-year tuition increase: 98.3%

Even with the increase, in-state California colleges are still relatively affordable. Tuition and fees at the average California college was $9,022 for the 2011-2012 school year, placing it behind states with smaller tuition jumps including New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Kris Lovekin, director of media relations for the University of California at Riverside, says that if a student experiences a significant tuition hike, their need-based financial aid package will keep pace.

“If you are on [need-based] financial aid, your fees get covered each year that you stay in school…,” she says. “Students who have more uncertainty in their lives are the students whose families are contributing more toward the cost…”


One-year tuition increase: 16.8%
Five-year tuition increase: 101.7%

This state has slashed higher education budgets by more than 25 percent last year alone, but average public college tuition and fee costs stay at a cool $9,428 per year.

If you have a change in your financial situation at home that makes it impossible to keep pace with tuition increases, you can try to fight it in the financial aid office says Lovekin. Students who qualify should request a “professional judgment” wherein financial aid officers take a second look at your aid package and could award extra funds.


One-year tuition increase: 15.9%
Five-year tuition increase: 74.2%

Most students won’t sweat the tuition hikes here since the state still has bargain-basement prices. Georgia public colleges only charge $6,808 on average in tuition and fees per year. One way to combat tuition increases is to seek awards for upperclassmen. “There are some scholarships are specifically for older students who maybe are in their junior or senior year,” Lovekin says. If your school doesn’t have the funds, there are awards through private organizations. Scholarship search sites like and contain a treasure trove of awards for upperclassmen.


One-year tuition increase: 15.7%
Five-year tuition increase: 67.3%

Washington’s higher ed budget has dropped by nearly 17 percent over the past five years, but the burden still isn’t overbearing. With an average in-state tuition and fee rate of $9,484, Washington is still well below many other states and less than half the cost of the average private college. Sometimes scholarships aren’t available, but there are other ways to pay says Lovekin. “[Students] can talk about work-study. They can talk about what kinds of low interest rate loans can they get. They can talk about a deferred payment plan,” she says.

Students may also get a break by investigating state aid programs, co-ops, internships and ways to save on living expenses.


One-year tuition increase: 13.7%
Five-year tuition increase: 65.8%

Average public college tuition in Nevada is only $6,044 per year, meaning that a near 14 percent increase isn’t as pricey as it sounds. At schools where tuition is low, housing costs are oftentimes more expensive. The College Board reports that students pay an average of $9,205 per year in room and board. To save money, Lovekin says, students “can live at home which would be less expensive than living away from home.” If heading home isn’t an option, look beyond campus. Off-campus apartments are frequently comparable to on-campus dorms and students may be able to sublet their rooms in summer.

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3 Responses to “The Five Largest State Tuition Hikes”

  1. freeby50 says:

    Georgia also has their HOPE scholarship which pays tuition if you have decent grades (3.0-3.2 I think) in high school. So its fairly easy to get.

    • educate4less says:

      The HOPE Scholarship is a federal tax credit of up to $2,500 annually, phased out at certain parent income levels. Georgia may have some other program as you describe but probably under a different name.

  2. educate4less says:

    Uh, not exactly Ms. Lovekin. The media relations gal at UC-RiversideAid correctly notes that aid-ineligible families would pay the FULL 20% cost increase but she incorrectly stated that “financial aid would keep pace” for others.

    Actually, a $100k AGI family with 2 kids (1 in college) would have qualified for about $8k of aid when UCR was $25k and would qualify for about $14k now that UCR is $31k. At UCR’s typical award rate of 91%, the family’s “Unmet Need” – the amount they pay over and above their Expected Family Contribution (EFC, approx. $17k) – jumps from $720 to $1,260, a 75% increase. So financial aid does not keep pace, despite UCR’s very high aid award rate.

    In totally, completely unrelated news, several years ago a Pennsylvania college had trouble filling seats and hired a new president. The new prez’ solution was to RAISE tuition by $15k/year, to increase perceived-value, and then give almost every student an aid award of $15k. He filled the seats with that little charade.

    Of the 1,251 PRIVATE colleges followed by College Board, only 141 (11%) meet 91% or more of need. Among this group are some recognized names – Harvard, CalTech, Stanford (and some admittedly vastly overpriced ones) – most of which graduate 70%+ of students in four years. UCR graduates 46% and meets 91% of need – I wonder why UCR is so generous?

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