NEBHE released its 2011 report on tuition and mandatory fees at public postsecondary institutions available online. In an effort to inform the decision-making of state policymakers as well as public higher education leaders and trustees, this report provides details of public postsecondary tuition and mandatory fee rates for the past five years, collected during the summer of 2011.
Questions about the affordability and value of postsecondary education have continued to percolate through media, political and social networks as college tuition prices rise faster than the rate of inflation, family income, and prescription drugs. However, reports from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the McKinsey Global Institute and numerous others continue to highlight the value of a degree and the imperative of raising degree-attainment rates. In New England, projections suggest that anywhere from 59% of jobs in Maine to 68% in Massachusetts will require some kind of postsecondary credential by 2018. As of 2008, the degree-attainment rates in New England ranged from 37% in Maine to 47% in Connecticut.
New England public postsecondary institutions play a critical role in determining regional degree-attainment rates. Notably, tuition and fees at these institutions have historically been among the highest in the country. The high tuition and fee rates are correlated with low state appropriation levels, which a recent survey by the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) identified as the most influential factor in determining undergraduate tuition rates. Rhode Island was the only New England state to increase state appropriations to higher education for FY2012, after having the largest declines in higher education appropriations per FTE students out of all 50 states between 2005 and 2010, according to SHEEO’s 2010 SHEF survey. Other New England states provided level-funding from the previous year or cut funding overall.
Monnica Chan is director of policy & research at NEBHE.