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ERIC Number: ED589744
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
The State Imperative: Aligning Tuition Policies with Strategies for Affordability. State Tuition, Fees, and Financial Assistance Policies 2017
Armstrong, John; Carlson, Andy; Laderman, Sophia
State Higher Education Executive Officers
The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) has produced periodic reports on state tuition and fee policies since 1979. In fall 2016, SHEEO administered a survey to its membership for an update to this study. In this eighth iteration of the project, the survey was revised significantly to allow for more qualitative analysis of responses and to reflect the increased focus on college affordability. Tuition is a major component of the cost to attend college for students and their families, and increases in tuition rates have contributed to the recent concern and scrutiny around the cost and affordability of postsecondary education. Most analyses of college affordability focus on net price (of which tuition is a component). Often, the reasoning behind what tuition rate to charge is not considered in these analyses. Given the recent interest in the cost and affordability of postsecondary education, it is crucial to understand how tuition and fees, two of the main postsecondary education price drivers, are set in each state. Further, understanding the policy behind tuition rate setting decisions is critical as organizations and states begin to develop forward-looking policies and programs to address affordability and the cost of postsecondary education. The authors received responses from 54 agencies in 49 states. Agencies surveyed included SHEEO member agencies as well as non-SHEEO members who oversee large populations of public higher education students in a state, such as the California Community Colleges system (CCC). This report highlights the broad results from the survey, and attempts to understand how tuition and fee policies are related, if at all, to broader efforts to address college affordability. Finally, in this report, the authors make recommendations that states and governing boards may consider to address college affordability through tuition and fee policies. The authors recommend a rational, long-term strategy for tuition and fee rate setting that is aligned with state goals, considers costs for students and institutional revenue needs, and is developed in consultation with state higher education executives, governing boards, institution presidents, and state policymakers.
State Higher Education Executive Officers. 3035 Center Green Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80301. Tel: 303-541-1600; Fax: 303-541-1639; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation
Authoring Institution: State Higher Education Executive Officers