Aug 24, 2019

Public school fees are soaring in America

Photo: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

The cost of a public education is increasing annually as some schools flood students and parents with fees to cover everything from alert systems and textbooks to anatomy class cadavers, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The big picture: "The cost of a free public education is on the rise, as a growing number of districts across the U.S. are charging students for registration, textbooks, the use of libraries and more," the WSJ reports.

Laws that govern school fees differ from state to state.

  • In Texas schools cannot charge fees for textbooks
  • In Indiana schools can attach a price tag to books.
  • Minnesota and Indiana permit districts to pursue legal action to collect fees that go unpaid.

By the numbers: School districts across the country brought in $6 billion in 2017 from student fees, activity costs and more, up 20% from 2002, found the WSJ. The number of schools charging fees also went up form 61% to 71%.

Go deeper

Schools face backlash for "shaming" students over lunch debt

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Schools across the country are cracking down on school lunch debt, and some are getting public and political backlash for "shaming" low-income students who haven't paid their lunch tabs with tactics such as threatening to put them and their siblings in foster care and using collection agencies.

Why it matters: Children from low-income families can qualify for free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch at their schools, which receive federal funds for the meals served. As national demographics shift and budgets are stretched, some school districts are seeing an influx of eligible students, creating enrollment delays, errors and negative balances.

Go deeperArrowSep 18, 2019

Deep Dive: Higher education's existential crisis

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo. Photos via Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

U.S. colleges and universities — historically cornerstones of society — are wrestling with a wave of rapid changes coming at the U.S.

The big picture: Higher education institutions — private, public, for-profit and not — are buckling in the face of demographic shifts, the arrival of automation, declining enrollment, political headwinds and faltering faith in the system.

New Mexico to offer free tuition to state residents

College graduates throwing caps in the air. Photo: Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images

New Mexico is set to announce Wednesday that state residents would have access to free college for both 2- and 4-year public schools, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The state proposal is the furthest reaching plan yet for free college, offering tuition to all 29 public universities for families to any resident, regardless of the ability to pay.

Go deeperArrowSep 18, 2019