College costs continue to rise, causing added stress to students

Wallace Hall (Courtesy: Wichita State University)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s no surprise college tuition has continued to increase over the last couple of decades.

But, did you know college students now pay more than seven times what their parents did?

Thirty years and a difference of almost $20,000 in costs.

“I think that’s crazy, it’s an insane jump,” said Anna Dixon, Senior at Wichita State University.

Prior generations paid much less than what college students are forced to fork over now, causing added stress to an already busy schedule for Dixon.

“I’m graduating in a year, and then, I’ll actually have to start paying on these loans and things like that. It does cause a lot of stress,” explained Dixon.

KSN compared numbers from 1981 to the present. These prices include tuition, fees, and room and board at a four year university.

In 1981, the average cost was just over $2,800 dollars per year.

Fast forward 36 years and the average cost of a year of college is almost $21,000.

“We’re doing everything we can to maintain cost because we understand every time we increase our tuition it impacts our students,” stated Tony Vizzini, WSU Provost.

Vizzini has been involved in higher education for most of his career and said funding now from the state is very different than it used to be.

“Thirty years ago state universities were extremely well supported by states, so tax payers’ money went into what was felt as a public good,” Vizzini explained.

Thirty years ago, 75 percent was funded by the state, now that number is down to 45 percent.

To make up for the sky-rocketing costs of school, students have to work more than ever before, averaging 37 hours per week, just to afford an education.

“It’s kind of scary to hear, because yeah, 37 hours a week, plus you’re trying to take a minimum of 12 credit hours, most people take around 15. That doesn’t add up,” stated Ally Tozier, sophomore at WSU.

Students like Tozier are now working extra hours in the summer, and hoping more financial assistance will become available.

”So much of it just comes down to scholarships and just making sure those are available,” explained Tozier.

The amount of Pell grant money has also increased quite a bit, but not enough compared to three decades ago.

The maximum Pell grant back in the 80’s was $1800 helping out significantly. Now, the most a student will see from a Pell grant is $5,800, meaning they’re left on the hook for more than $14,000.

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