State system tuition hike is moderate– but still a concern

There are 115,000 students in the state university system, many of them residents of our region. It will cost them more to attend college this fall again.

The tuition for in-state students in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is going up 3-percent from the 2012-13 school year. Rates also are going up for non-resident and graduate students. The 3 percent increase amounts to $194 more per year to attend universities such as Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield. There have been steeper percentage increases and, every once in a while, smaller percentage tuition increases for the state system.

But there are almost always tuition increases.

And while 3 percent is close to the rate of inflation, it still is an increase in costs for families and students already struggling to pay for a college education.

The annual cost of tuition for in-state residents now totals $6,622. And while that remains a very good buy for a college education, continual increases may one day make even a college education through the state system unaffordable.

At a time when the loan repayment rates for college students are going up and the job opportunities attached to a college education are a matter of very stiff competition, it’s incumbent on the schools to do all they can to maintain, rather than increase, tuition costs.