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The great recession’s toll on higher education

The Great Recession has had a devastating effect on higher education, forcing many students across the country to pay more for colleges that offer less, U.S. News reports. Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio have run out of scholarship money and are turning down thousands of qualified applicants. Public universities in Georgia, Virginia, and Washington have raised their tuition by about $1,000 for the fall semester. Public colleges in Florida, Louisiana, and Nevada are canceling hundreds of classes for lack of state funding. California has simply shut the door on hundreds of thousands of its high school graduates and workers hoping for new skills. Students have no choice but to pack into the crowded courses that remain, where overloaded instructors are replacing essay assignments with easier-to-grade (but less educationally rigorous) multiple-choice tests. Because of the dramatic budget cuts and tuition increases, today’s college students have to work harder to earn degrees than did their older brothers or sisters. Many students are succeeding, but only by borrowing more, finding cheaper or better courses elsewhere, and using their social networking skills to raise money. One phenomenon that is having a huge effect on four-year schools is “reverse transfers”: Students at expensive four-year universities are switching to lower-cost two-year schools to get their basics completed inexpensively…

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Laura Ascione

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