The rate of tuition increases at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities between 2008 and 2015 ranks Connecticut 28th in the nation, with an increase of 22.8 percent, or just under $2,000 per student. The tuition increases in Arizona, Hawaii, Georgia, Louisiana and Florida and California, all exceeding 60 percent, were highest in the nation. Overall, since the 2007-8 academic year, average annual tuition has increased 29 percent, or just over $2,000 nationally, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. On average, states are spending 20 percent or less in 2015 than they did in 2008. Connecticut is spending 16.7 percent less.
Published tuition -- the "sticker price" -- at public four-year institutions rose in 34 states over the past year, but only modestly. But since the 2007-08 school year, average annual published tuition has risen by $2,068 nationally, or 29 percent, above the rate of inflation.
The share of students graduating from public universities with debt has risen, according to the Center’s analysis. Between the 2007-08 and 2012-13 school years, the share of students graduating from a public four-year institution with debt rose from 55 to 59 percent. At the same time, the average amount of debt held by the average bachelor's degree recipient with loans at a public four-year institution grew 16 percent -- from $22,000 to $25,600 (in 2013 dollars).
Forty-seven states -- all except Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming -- are spending less per student in the 2014-15 school year than they did at the start of the recession. Connecticut ranks 34th on the list of states spending below pre-recession levels at 16.7 percent less. The most dramatic drop is in Arizona (47%), Louisiana (42%), South Carolina (38%), and Alabama and Pennsylvania (36%). The analysis compares state spending in 2008 and 2015.
UConn plans a 6.5 percent increase in tuition and fees next year; the Board of Regents for Higher Education has approved a 4.8 percent increase for students attending the four regional state universities. The state legislature approved legislation this year that would have added two students to the UConn Board of Trustees, in part to give students a strong voice in recognition of the increasing percentage of tuition that is now paid by students. The plan was vetoed by Gov. Malloy. The total in-state undergraduate cost of attending UConn, including tuition, room and board, will be about $25,500 in 2015-2016, up from about $24,500, according to published reports.
The Center’s study found that over the past year, as states have started to restore funding for public higher education, tuition hikes have been much smaller than in recent years. Just seven states -- Louisiana, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Virginia, and Mississippi -- raised tuition by more than $300, after inflation.
The change in average tuition at public four-year colleges, adjusted for inflation, between fiscal years 2008 and 2014 placed Connecticut in the middle of the states, ranking 25th with an increase of $1,695. The largest increase was in Arizona ($4,493) and the laws in Montana ($253).