Public university systems are straining to meet demand as more students are looking for an affordable education during tough economic times.
With states cutting funding to schools and an overwhelming influx of students, public universities have had to turn away tens of thousands of qualified candidates. The students that do get in can face overcrowded classes and, in some cases, school housing shortages.
Many colleges have had to take out loans in order to make improvements to their campuses that the state is not willing to cover. The cost of paying off these loans has contributed to higher tuition rates for students and their families.
"When people are losing their jobs, being laid off, uncertain about what the economy is going to bring, they turn to higher education in order to prepare themselves better to compete." -Susan Cole, president, Montclair State University
"Twenty-one states have announced cuts in funding for higher education. Thirty-five states spend less per college student today than they did in 2002." - John Tulenko, Learning Matters Television
"When I was looking for schools, my dad was out of work. At the time, I knew that it was slightly tight and that we needed to be efficient in where we were looking." -Adrianne Moe, student
1. What is the difference between a public and private university?
2. What are some of the major costs of running a university?
1. Do states have a responsibility to give all qualified students a chance at a college education? Why or why not?
2. What are some of the potential consequences of higher state tuition rates? What are some of the options students might choose if they can't afford a state school?
3. Why do you think attending college or graduate school is so popular during time of economic recession?