Data Check: The Great Recession continues to squeeze American students

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Four years after the beginning of the financial crisis, restrained public funding and domestic income means American students are looking for ways to reduce their educational spending and increase their in-study income, according to a new poll.

Inflation-adjusted tuition and mandatory fees at four-year public universities for in-state, domestic students has risen by nine per cent over the two years from 2009-10 to 2011-12, driven by State spending in the face of rising enrolment.  It is in that context that Sallie Mae and Ipsos published the results of a recent survey on How America Pays for College.

Their poll, conducted during the 2011-12 academic year, found that the lingering effects of the Great Recession led to a variety of cost-savings measures. For more than half of students, these include ways of reducing living costs – by living at home or adding a roommate. Half of parents reduced their spending on higher education, while two-thirds of students also cut back their own spending.

Half of the students also reported working more hours. They do so as they as also pick up a greater share of the burden of paying for their studies. The proportion of the 2011-12 cost paid by students from their own savings, income and loans was 36 per cent, compared to 31 per cent just two years beforehand.

The study also reveals that American students are shifting away from high-cost institutions to cheaper community colleges.  Of those surveyed, 29 per cent were enrolled in a community college, as opposed to 23 per cent in 2009.

With the highest tuition fees in Canada, Ontario may experience – or is currently experiencing – similar trends. OCUFA has long argued that we should not fund our higher education sector on the backs of students and their families. Robust public funding is the key to sustainable, affordable, and high quality post-secondary education.

Grapevine, Fiscal Year 2011-12
National Center for Education Statistics, Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in 2011-12, Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2010-11, and 12-Month Enrollment: 2010-11 First Look (Preliminary Data); Digest of Education Statistics, 2011


This article originally appeared in the OCUFA Report. To receive stories like this every week in your inbox, please subscribe.

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