To the relief of families who dread annual tuition increases, a growing number of public and private colleges are moving to freeze those bills so that students pay the same amount in their freshman through senior years.
The idea is to give students and parents some financial stability at a time of other economic worries and mounting student debt.
The predictability pleases Joshua Deal, 19, of San Diego. He is a junior at Northern Arizona University, one of the estimated 40 schools in the nation that offer such guarantees. Unlike friends at UC or Cal State schools who worry every year about tuition hikes, "I know exactly what I'll be paying," Deal said. "You should never have to pay higher than what you started with."
A movement is underway to advocate bringing such agreements to California's public campuses. A 24-year-old UC alumnus has begun gathering signatures for a proposed state constitutional amendment that would freeze undergraduate tuition at UC, Cal State and community colleges at the levels students paid when they first enrolled. Increases could occur with each incoming freshman group, the way many of the existing plans work in other states.