According to the Tuscaloosa News article, tuition for Alabama medical schools will rise 7 percent next year for in-state students; tuition for out-of-state students in each field will remain the same.

How can we expect these aspiring physicians to choose primary care in rural communities when many leave school with $200,000 in student loan debt? (The average indebtedness of a 2004 Grad was $90,742 which does include undergraduate debt.

In the last nine years, tuition for in-state medical students has risen 198 percent. The Trustees explained that the money will be used to pay for increased costs of operating the colleges. Has the costs of operating the colleges increased 198% in nine years? UAB Provost cites loss of state funding as part of the reason.  A 9% increase was needed because of state cuts and keeping up with technology costs in 1999. A 15% tuition increase in 2010 was due to funding cuts due to proration.

According to one study,  in the two decades since 1984, median tuition and fees increased 165 percent in private medical schools and by 312 percent in public medical schools, growing far more rapidly than the Consumer Price Index.  However, higher education, generally, has seen an unnatural increase in college and university tuition and costs.  Since 1982, cost of college tuition and fees have increased 439%. (PDF Report download: Measuring Up 2008 National and State Report Cards)

Has the costs of actual instruction increased by such percentages? We need open and thorough debate in Alabama on the causes of this tuition inflation. Is it rent-seeking? Have corporations found a new source of corporate welfare by gaming and exploiting the “research centers” funding?

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