Tuition costs still pressure students

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Infographic by Joe Silva


When senior Dominic Rosso first found out how much a semester of college would cost, he was surprised.

“My first thought was that was a lot.” he said. “Like wow — this is really the worth of education?”

While student debt is a regular discussed problem that faces the U.S., rising tuition fees are rarely mentioned. Since 1986, student fees have risen by more than 700 percent, vastly outstripping the pace of inflation. While their parents could have made $3.35 an hour washing dishes and covered the cost of tuition after a couple of weeks, students today would need to work for months in order to pay for a year’s worth of school.

Rosso, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, is fortunate enough to have parents who pay his tuition. But not everyone is quite as lucky.

According to, nearly 80 percent of students have a part-time job and work an average of 19 hours per week in order to help pay for their education.

And while some parents help pay for school, the number has fallen off in recent years. From 2010 to 2012, parents dropped their contributions to their offspring’s college education by 35 percent. This, alongside the tuition hikes, is likely what has caused many students to turn to financial aid.

Though the vast majority of financial aid applicants go elsewhere, Chico State still has about 10,000 applicants that receive loans or grants, said Kentiner David, the associate director of the campus’ Financial Aid office.

“Every year we get about 30,000 plus financial aid applications that we have to process,” David said. “I don’t have the exact figures right now, but I do know that the number of applications have been increasing over time.”

However, there is some small degree of hope. Tuition rates have remained constant since 2012, giving students some much-needed breathing room.

The CSU system has predicted that tuition fees will go down for the 2015-2016 school year, but it is likely that tuition increases and student debt will remain a problem for years to come.

Though Rosso considers himself lucky to have his parents helping him out, he does feel for the plight of other students, he said.

“I don’t see how some people can (work a part-time job),” he said. “It’s awesome to see that people can do it, but I couldn’t.”

Joe Silva can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.