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Report: Tuition hikes reduce diversity at public colleges and universities

New research from Princeton University and New York University suggests tuition hikes at public colleges and universities has a negative impact on diversity.

According to a report published this month, a $1,000 tuition increase at four-year nonselective public institutions is associated with a 4.5 percent drop in campus diversity for full-time freshmen. Researchers also found tuition hikes at nearby private institutions led to an increase in student diversity at public institutions in the same area.

“Jumps in public college tuition drive down the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body, and this effect is particularly strong at the nonselective public colleges and universities that serve as the gateway to higher education for many families,” said  Drew Allen, one of the researchers responsible for the study in a release this week. Allen is executive director of the Initiative for Data Exploration and Analytics (IDEAS) for Higher Education at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Last week the UNC Board of Governors voted to keep in-state tuition flat at most campuses in the UNC system. Three universities — Elizabeth City State, UNC Pembroke and Western Carolina —  will see substantial reductions as part of the NC Promise program.

But non-tuition fees continue to go up at most UNC system campuses. The board also approved a controversial new fee at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School that will result in a $2,000-a-year increase for undergraduate majors and a $1,000 increase for minors.

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