University needs to learn lesson in fiscal responsibility

Lynn Russo Whylly's picture

College is expensive. Pitt, compared to the average  public university, is particularly expensive. According to the College Board, the average tuition at public universities last year was $8,655. So why does Pitt charge almost double this, $16,240?

One reason is almost certainly the stinginess of the Pennsylvania state government. Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law a budget that allocates $136.3 million to Pitt. In the 2012-2013 school year, 72 percent of students at Pitt were from Pennsylvania, according to the Pitt Fact Book produced by Pitt’s Office of Institutional Research.

If we assume the same number and breakdown of in-state and out-of-state students for this school year, there are just more than 20,000 in-state students at Pitt this year. That means the state government contributes approximately $6,600 per in-state student (if we are very generous in our calculations). Though this is above the national average reported by CBS News of about $5,900 per student, this comes nowhere close to covering the difference between in- and out-of-state tuition. Pitt receives more than $3,000 less state support and tuition per in-state student than it does per out-of-state student.

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