Once a shining alternative to expensive—exclusive, some would argue—private colleges and universities, the California State University system last week approved a nine percent tuition increase, its ninth hike increase in nine years, triggering a protest at CSU’s Long Beach, California headquarters. The protest became violent—CSU police clashed with protestors (a mixture of students, labor leaders, and other activists from the Occupy movement), pepper spray was used, a glass door was shattered and several officers suffered minor injuries.
Tuition at CSU—a 23-campus system comprising more than 400,000 students (the largest post-secondary education system in the United States)—has now doubled since 2006 and more than tripled over the last decade. CSU is under tremendous financial pressure, with the State of California having slashed its funding by $650 million over the past two years alone, leading to a reduction in enrollments in addition to the tuition increase.
The sad event is yet another black mark for traditional higher education, and underscores the frustration felt by students who are stuck between a rock and hard place: As higher education is becoming increasingly critical to success in this economic downturn, traditional colleges and universities are becoming financially out of reach. Burying oneself under a mountain of debt—particularly in this economy—can’t be the answer.
The best online institutions offer a way out from between that rock and hard place. For its part, CalSouthern offers affordable tuition (which is locked upon a student’s acceptance and will never be increased as long as he or she is enrolled at the university) and shuns federal financial aid, offering instead a no-interest payment option.
We hope you’ll investigate CalSouthern. We’re confident that the more research you do, the more you’ll appreciate this alternative to what is increasingly looking to be an unsustainable traditional higher education model.