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In an era of rising prices, college is next

Around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to produce and for people to buy goods. As a result, the price of things like meat, cars, and fuel has gone up.

Something else is also expected to get more expensive: American colleges and universities.

In all walks of American life, people are paying more for workers, food, and energy. As a result, colleges will also charge students more in the 2022-2023 school year.

Jim Hundrieser is vice president of the National Association of College and University Business Officers. He said that for several years the costs of college education have been rising somewhat slowly. But now, he said, “there is absolutely going to be an increase in tuition fees and costs”.

The University of Virginia has already announced that it will increase its price for the next school year by almost 5%. Another Virginia school, Virginia Tech, has already raised meal prices by 9% to help pay people who work there. Campus eating places.

Besides schools in Virginia, colleges such as Chicago’s Loyola, Texas Christian University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington have all said prices will rise next year.

People who study in colleges say that students may soon face higher tuition.

The price increases are a change from the past two years. The College Board reports that costs have not increased significantly during the pandemic. But in the previous 10 years, college prices skyrocketed or rose sharply. During this period, the cost to attend public colleges increased by 28%. The cost of private colleges has increased by 19%.

The upcoming price hike is more noticeable as many universities felt pressure to keep prices low during and just before the pandemic.

Those who run schools worry that students who are in the middle of their studies will be surprised by higher costs.

David Jewell is senior vice president for business affairs at Cleveland State University in Ohio, in the US Midwest. The annual cost to attend Cleveland State is approximately $27,000. The price includes tuition fees as well as estimated living expenses. That’s a lot of money, but it’s less than the cost of hundreds of other American colleges.

jewell said the Hechinger Report that students attending Cleveland State are often the first in their families to go to college. Many are already struggling to pay for their higher education. Even a small price increase for the following school year could prevent some students from attending.

Robert Kelchen studies education policy and leadership at the University of Tennessee. He said universities may have to delay repairs to school buildings, cut some services and increase class sizes to cope with their own increases. expenses. Raising tuition fees will not be enough.

“They have to look for other ways to cut costs,” he said.

Cutting services will be difficult, another researcher said, because current students need more from their universities than before.

Some students, for example, want mental health services. A study by the University of California – Berkeley and the University of Minnesota found that twice as many students are depressed compared to the number before the pandemic began. About 1.5 times as many students struggle with anxiety compared to before the pandemic.

And it’s not just students who want more. Teachers want to be paid more. So do diploma students who teach part-time. Some universities stopped contributing money to workers’ retirement accounts at the start of the pandemic. But they started doing it again.

Richard Garrett is a researcher at Encoura, a higher education consulting firm. He said universities and colleges “are pressured to spend more, just when they have nothing left to spend.”

Some of the costs will be covered by states that spend more on education. For example, leaders in Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, and New York want to add money to the state’s higher education budget.

Students study in a library on the campus of California State University, Long Beach in Long Beach, California.  (File. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Students study in a library on the campus of California State University, Long Beach in Long Beach, California. (File. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom said he would add more money to the state’s education budget as long as the cost of a college education fell. California State University has already said it won’t raise tuition at its 23 campuses next year.

Cleveland State’s Jewell said universities can “get creative” when trying to save money. They can do things like offer less expensive food at campus restaurants.

With all the cost reductions, there is good news. Universities could finally change the way they spend their money. Larger state universities that have multiple campuses may choose to purchase items like computers and computer supplies through a central office.

By making one large purchase instead of several small purchases, universities can save money. The University of Massachusetts, which has five campuses, made the change in 2020. It has already saved $34 million.

Some schools may feel compelled to change the types of courses they offer. Some will drop classes that do not have enough students. Others will use technology to do more computer and video instruction, which is less expensive than bringing students together in person. Some schools may launch new programs for high-demand subjects.

Garrett, the Encoura researcher, said people have been slow to recognize a “cost and productivity problem” in universities over the past 30 to 40 years.

“Maybe what’s happening now,” he said, “will make a difference.”

I am Jill Robbins. And I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this report for Learning English based on a story through The Hechinger report, an independent, non-profit news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

Do you think you will find it difficult to pay for your studies if the prices continue to rise? Write to us in the comments section and visit our Facebook page.

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words in this story

tuition fees – nm the money that is paid to a school for the right to study there

costs – nm the amount of money needed to pay for something

Campus nm the buildings that make up a school or university

costs – nm a sum of money that must be paid

anxiety – nm fear or worry about what might happen

diploma – adj. relating to a course of study that comes after a bachelor’s degree or a first degree