Tuition Cuts: The Political Dynamics of Higher Education Finance

    Vol. 36, No. 2, 2006 p. 33

    by Michael N. Bastedo

    Increasingly, states are restricting tuition growth through political pressure and statewide governing and coordinating boards. During the 1990s, California, Virginia, and New York all cut or restrained tuition, and recently Michigan, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey have restricted tuition growth either through legislation or intense gubernatorial pressure. This case study examines the most extensive use of tuition cuts nationally, in the state of Massachusetts from 1995 to 2001. This case reveals the causes and effects of tuition cuts as a policy measure, and also the political dynamics underlying public higher education finance in increasingly politicized environments.