November 3, 2004

N.Y. College Tuition Rising Faster Than National Inflation

Print More

In the last 20 years, the cost of beer has risen, the cost of pizza has escalated, and the cost of textbooks has soared. But all of these increases in costs frequently incurred by college students pale in comparison to the 224 percent spike in the average tuition for colleges in upstate New York. According to a report by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), the climb in tuition has moved at 2.5 times the national rate of inflation, which is 84 percent. Schumer compiled data from the National Center for Education Statistics at the Department of Education.

Among the schools listed, Cornell is reported to be slightly below average in tuition growth for the State of New York, with a 200 percent jump — from $9,600 in 1983-1984 school year to $28,754 in 2003-2004 for a non-resident in a statuatory college.

However, though Cornell might fall short of the average, many students and their families still feel the strain of rising tuition.

“Between my sisters and I, my parents have been paying Cornell tuition for six years, and I think they would have difficulty believing that we’re on the low end of anything,” said Dana Sckolnick ’07.

Schumer says he worked to thwart skyrocketing college prices with the $4000 tax credit for tuition that he described in the senatorial debate on Oct. 19 at Cornell.

According to Schumer’s website, the tax break allows single filers with taxable income of up to $65,000 and joint filers with income of up to $130,000 to deduct $4,000 in taxable income.

The $4000 tax break is set to expire in 2005, and Schumer says he is currently working to triple the tax credit to $12,000. This new bipartisan legislation would create an additional $1,500 tax credit to aid college graduates in paying off their student loans.

The $8000 more in tax relief for families paying tuition will come at a cost of $3.8 billion to the federal government.

Financial aid has not been able to compensate for the mounting college costs.

“Financial aid … has not been able to offset [the rising cost of college]. That is, despite an alarming rise in debt among recent college graduates, families are still struggling to pay the bills,” said the website of the Center for American Progress, a bipartisan think tank.

The National Report Card on Higher Education currently gives New York State an A for preparation, a B+ for completion and an F for affordability. The report card says that “net college costs for low- and middle-income students to attend public four-year colleges and universities [in New York] represent nearly half of their annual family income, even after accounting for [tuition assistance programs],” according to their website.

In a recent press conference, Schumer said, “This new tax relief will help us to make America a place where the best education is once again available to all. I am confident that we’re going to be able to increase the benefit even more, providing real dollars and real savings for families sending their kids to college.”

Archived article by Erica Fink
Sun Senior Writer