US: Tuition bargains fade at public universities

For bargain-hunting families, state colleges and universities supported by tax money have long been a haven from the high cost of private education. But tuition bargains are fading as the nation's public universities undergo a profound shift, accelerated by the recession. In most states, it is now tuition payments not state appropriations that cover most of the budget, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.

The shift has been an unwelcome surprise to Ashley Murphy, a sophomore at the University of South Carolina. When she and her twin sister, Allison, picked their colleges two years ago, costs were definitely an issue, since they are putting themselves through college.

Ashley said she chose the state flagship both because she believed that public universities offered the best education and because she thought it would be cheaper than Allison's choice, a small Baptist university where the published tuition is twice as much. But thanks to generous financial aid, Allison is paying less. And even with a campus job and a $5,000 state scholarship, Ashley struggles to make ends meet, worries about her student loans and is increasingly nervous about tuition increases.
Full report on The New York Times site