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March 31. 2013 3:25PM

UNH tuition: It's about costs, not subsidies

University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston last week blamed UNH's rising tuition costs on declining state subsidies. That is the party line within the entire University System of New Hampshire. If it were true, then tuition would have been declining in the years before the last budget, the years when state subsidies to the university system were going up. Tuition then did not decline; it rose.

In an interview with The Telegraph of Nashua, Huddleston said that New Hampshire families now spend about half of their gross annual income to send a child to UNH. The figure was about 10 percent when he entered the field of higher education.

"That's crazy. That's simply unsupportable," he said. "We need to do our share to keep costs down."

It is crazy and unsupportable. But who is this "we" he is talking about?

Huddleston, like other university officials, ties the price of his product to state subsidies, but not to the underlying cost of his product. That cost is the real issue and always have been. If UNH administrators wanted to reduce the price, they would slash the cost. Instead, they would rather pressure legislators to hike the subsidies. That, not lowering tuition, is what this PR campaign is all about.

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