Even though most states found themselves creating massive cuts in the last year, the budget gap is still too much for some to handle, leading them to decrease spending further.
States such as Indiana and California have already announced a dramatic decrease in education budgets for the next year. Both states, especially California, had a hard year in 2009 trying to fill the debt gap. While California inflicted dramatic tuition increases that led to student protests and media scrutiny to make up for the budget, Indiana cut programs and limited faculty travel as a way of spending less, promising to do everything they could to keep tuition increases at a minimum.
The New Year will cause the state of Indiana to cut their education budget by $150 million, according to Indiananewscenter.com. Governor Mitch Daniels stated that by leaving vacant faculty spots open and controlling faculty travel will hopefully help an easier transition into frugality without having to impose staff cuts. Daniels also stated that this would keep tuition price frozen until 2011, promising there would be no dramatic hikes until then.
California has cut $2.8 billion from their education budget. By hiking tuition and adding astronomical student fees, the state plans to keep their balance in check. Students have protested these hikes, accusing the system of becoming unreachable for students because of costs.
Students with the major of social work, architect and urban planning in the University of California (UC) system were considered to be pursuing professional degrees, which led to additional student fees as high as $8,000, according to the Los Angeles Times. This increase meant that some scholars would have to pay up to 230 percent more in fees compared to those who were enrolled in English and chemistry graduate programs.
Fewer loans are available to increasing students in need
Because tuitions are becoming too expensive for some families around the country, there has been an outpour of need for student loans. Unfortunately, due to the unstable economy, banks are weary of lending more money, according to the Washington Post.
Some believe that loan defaults were part of the reason the economy crashed in the first place, which is why many lenders have become restrictive over who receives money and how much.
"It's not only the credit model that has changed; the basic financial model of higher education has also become challenged," Anthony Marx, an education administrator told the news provider. "We were already concerned that middle-class students were getting squeezed by racking up debt that could constrain their career choices after they graduate."
Despite states slashing their higher education budgets and a shortage of student loans, online education can still provide hope to those who want to reach a degree.
In addition to being a beneficial model to those in the working world, online education is also a popular option for students with low incomes, as it allows them to hold a job to help pay for their schooling. Because the learning is done at home, students have the ability to pick their own schedule and work around whatever prior obligations they may have.
Many programs have been developed to keep students in school, including a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that looks to improve community college dropout statistics by offering funding to go towards online education so that students can learn on their own time, according to Tonic.com.
"We are targeting the best new ideas that hold the greatest promise for improving the odds for low-income young adult learners," said Hilary Pennington, director of education, postsecondary success and special initiatives for the Gates Foundation.
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