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Cost Of California Public Universities Spikes Over Four Decades

Students walk at UC San Diego in this undated photo.
Milan Kovacevic
Students walk at UC San Diego in this undated photo.
The price of a higher education in California public colleges have seen a tremendous rise since 1979. A new study shows that housing and food expenses are the biggest financial drain on today’s students.

For a growing number of today’s college students, the cost of high education is a major financial hurdle. But the cost of college hasn't always been so high in California.

The non-partisan California Budget and Policy Center analyzed college costs over the last 40 years. Here's some of what they found: in 1979, one year of tuition and fees at a University of California school cost about $2,200 in today's dollars. In 2018, the cost of one year at a University of California school is about six timers higher at $14,000. Over the same period of time, tuition costs for the California State University system saw a more than 1300% increase.

Now, Cal Grant awards and university-need based grants are robust enough to help some low-income students attend these schools. However, according to the study, it is the cost of food and housing that has increased the financial burden on students. Another related study that surveyed 86,000 American college students found 46% experienced food insecurity in the previous month and more than half experienced housing insecurity in the last year.


Amy Rose, an analyst with the California Budget and Policy Center joins Midday Edition Monday with more on the topic.