College Affordability

Background

The costs of college have been skyrocketing and have doubled over the past 15 years. College students now regularly face choices between taking on greater amounts of debt, working longer hours in part-time jobs, or going without food, books or housing to cover their growing college costs and living expenses to complete their education.

While the costs of college go well beyond tuition, a study of effective methods of tuition regulation would be a great step in the direction of exploring an avenue that could address this critical issue.

Postsecondary education is critical for driving prosperity for Texas families. Increasingly, well-paid jobs available in Texas require more than a high school diploma. For more Texans to become qualified members of the workforce and sustainable earners for their families, more students of all backgrounds need access to a post-secondary education. The state has an important role to play to ensure college affordability, and it’s critical that we invest in higher education access now to ensure prosperity for all Texans in the future.

While the state has been investing less and less in Texas colleges and universities, the average annual tuition for a Texas university student doubled from 2000 to 2015. After a decade of declining state support for public universities, students and their families began paying more in tuition and fees ($6,667) than the state provided in funding ($6,276 per student).

The Legislature is shifting the burden of postsecondary education costs from the state to Texas families. With less state investment and unchecked tuition increases, students are forced to take on more debt and work longer hours, which can interfere with classroom performance. Additionally, many students struggle with rising costs for food, transportation, and room and board, and some are priced out of postsecondary education altogether.

For more information, check out our Degrees of Debt reports.

Related Resources

Meet Our Staff

Ashley Williams

Policy Analyst, Economic Opportunity Team