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49 of 50 States Fail College Affordability Test

Whether you paid for college or your parents did, there was more motivation to do well in school than to graduate with an impressive GPA. Tuition bills were reminders that if we didn't go to class or study, we were wasting our time and a mountain of money.

The cost of college is a strain for most families, and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education sought to learn more about this reality in its study, "Measuring Up 2008: The National Report Card on Higher Education." Here are highlights from the findings.

  • The only state that passed the affordability test is California, which only scored a C-minus.
  • California received a passing grade because, according Pat Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, "The state's community colleges are the best educational bargain in the country."
  • Pennsylvania has the least affordable state schools — on average, one year at a public university takes up 41 percent of family income.
  • Tennessee has the most affordable state schools, but the lower cost universities have not received good rankings.


Spectra Spectra 8 years
I went to the UW-Madison and it was a lot more expensive than any of the other state schools. What really sucks is that my husband went to a small state school (UW-Platteville) and paid about 1/4 of what I did for tuition and now he has a job where he makes about twice what I do, which really sucks because we both have the same level of education. I will probably be paying off student loans for a long, long time, but I do think college was well worth it.
zabrow zabrow 8 years
i knew california had to be the only state that passed... i didn't realize that other states didn't have cheap community colleges like CA does until one of my CC instructors told us. i'm supposed to pay $20/unit at my college right now, but i get a fee waiver every year... i haven't paid anything so far for nursing school, except for the cost of books (which can be waived if you do a little more fancy footwork with financial aid) & a $50 testing fee every semester. other people i know have come out of nursing school with $80k+ worth of debt. thank you, governator, for the fee waiver!
stix225 stix225 8 years
Graduate school is even worse. Hundreds of thousands in debt so far!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Thanks kscincotta...I like yours too! :)
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
blues, I just have to comment that I LOVE your avatar.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Errr...when I said undergrad I meant lower division :oops:
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
When I was there tuition was roughly $15/unit. Now it's up to $20/unit. HOWEVER. Books are super expensive. I paid easily $200 for a Chemistry book, which HAD to be the newest version.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Makes sense. Santa Rosa Junior College is one of the best JC's in the country, and has been for a long time. Did all of my undergrad there...and believe me, the math and chemistry departments were harder than the local colleges BY FAR.
verily verily 8 years
They made us pay $150 a semester for a statue creation fee at my college, so I would believe that they all fail.
syako syako 8 years
I wonder if this survey took into account programs like the one set up in Louisiana where if you make certain grades, take certain classes and get a certain score on the ACT, the state will pay for your tuition to a public college in the state. That made college UNBELIEVABLE affordable to me and my family.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
I went to a private California school, and it was definitely not cheap. That's why I worked my ass off to graduate in three years, I couldn't afford it otherwise! Good thing too, the year I left tuition went up by 7%!!! usually it's only 2-3% every year . . . I knew so many kids who had to get jobs and work long hours to pay for tuition, but then they had to get by on C averages because they had no time to study . . .
kendallina kendallina 8 years
I currently go to a Tennessee state university and it is definitely cheaper than the state university I went to in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, we also don't get the funding we deserve and our programs are being cut right now.
geebers geebers 8 years
I started college ten years ago (yikes revealing my age!) and while it sucked to apply and fill out a million papers and loans to get to attend, it was worth it and it should be available to those that need it. I felt that my college was affordable because those resources were available. I am disheartened that they are now being cut- federal aid made up the main bulk of my loans and grants. No wonder my undergrad and grad ask me for money every week. I guess they really need alumni support - and I want the future to be able to have what I had so I guess I will stop being lazy and send them money.
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 8 years
Interesting - this comes upon the heels of a budget shortfall in GA that they're passing on to us students. They had the nerve to call it "a special additional $100 student fee to help maintain the academic quality that you demand." It's absolutely ridiculous. They already make tons of money from students who don't use services yet still have to pay for them. Student athletic fee and transportation fee my ass. I've never been to anything athletic on campus nor have I used their buses. Boo.
psterling psterling 8 years
I went to community college in CA and I agree, it was a great education, a great experience and saved my parents a lot. I easily transferred to a great university with half of my credits completed and my parents only had to pay two years of huge tuition costs, rather than four.
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
I really wish they (who ever they may be) would do something about the rising costs of college. If I didn't have federal aid, student loans and scholarships, I would be screwed. And, I don't believe it should be that way.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Haha! Awesome. I'm glad they're getting called out on this. I feel awful for friends whose parents didnt have the $ to send them to college, and they were too naive to get loans and make the decisions themselves when they were only 17. It should be affordable to everyone :(
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I completely believe this. College is so expensive. I wouldn't have been able to go without scholarships, grants, and student loans. And I can't even imagine how expensive it'll be when I have kids and they get ready to go to college. I feel like I should start saving now... and I don't even have kids!
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
*less state support
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
Public Universities are also getting less federal support, I think that plays a major part in the tuition increase. More schools are moving towards becoming private too
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 8 years
This sucks. :(
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 8 years
even so, california's public universities are rising in! I hope they do something about it.
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
yikes! I work and went to a college in PA..:(
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