One would think that the unreliability of state funding (which will be cut next year) would raise the risk premium on anything with a four-year maturity, including tuition. That's the way bond markets work, for example, but apparently risk is an economic variable not factored into the popular mantra of affordability. Indeed, SIU boasts that it leaves students with one of the lowest debt loads of any state university in the country (see below). It is difficult to see how much more "affordable" we can be unless we give college away for free.
SIU cited the following factoid from U.S. News & World Report:
"SIUC ranked 14th nationally in graduates who leave school with the least amount of debt. Thirty-seven percent of SIUC's grads are in debt when they graduate, with the average amount being $12,413."To wit: We are giving college out for free to many students (although only 45% will graduate over six years). Pell and MAP grants cover the cost for "needy" students. This sounds like a good thing but it makes SIUC dependent on continued state funding of the MAP grant program, along with direct state subsidies. This year's MAP grant fiasco should have awakened Salukis to the reality that we need
*More paying students (not just those with money from the state)
*Higher tuition -- but the tuition freeze eliminates that option.
*No state money
*MAP grant money is unreliable
*Tuition freeze = tuition cut (expect some inflation with a recovering economy--unless SIU is expecting four years of economic stagnation and zero inflation).
While folks at the Carbondale campus are desperate for funds, they are downright giddy about the tuition freeze at our ever-expanding Edwardsville campus. Here's why:
The Edwardsville campus tuition and fees = $8,336
The Carbondale campus tuition and fees = $10,411
In short, at the undergraduate level, SIU's two campuses are competing with each other and the freeze only enhances the Edwardsville advantage. Little wonder that their enrollment is booming while Carbondale's is in long-term decline. The above links suggest that SIU-E is far less dependent on students who need state grants. Their facilities are newer, they are close to an urban center -- AND they cost significantly less.
Perhaps I am missing something (?) but no one has ever pointed out the significant cost differential between the two campuses. Obviously, parents and students have figured it out; they are voting with their feet for SIU-E.