Cultural Psychology

Archive for November 2011

Hyperinflation of Tuition and Fees in the University of California System

with 2 comments

This chart demonstrates how badly California college students are being ripped off.

The red line shows the actual average undergraduate tuition + fees across University of California campuses, from 1975/76 to 2011/12.

The blue line shows what tuition + fees would be if they increased only because of inflation.  These numbers are calculated based on historical Consumer Price Index data (specifically, the CPI-U, which applies to urban consumers). 1975 is used as the base year.

The ratio of the height of the two lines gives the rip-off index  — or how much tuition and fees hyperinflated relative to general cost of living — for a given year.

For 2011/12, the ripoff index is obtained by dividing actual tuition + fees ($11,064) by what would be expected by inflation alone ($2,506), giving 4.41.

A simple way to interpret this is as follows:  after adjusting for inflation, the financial burden on students and their families to pay tuition and fees at UC is 4.41 times greater than in 1975!


See also:
College Tuition: Inflation or Hyperinflation?