The Price to Pay for an Education

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Freshman applications have climbed about two percent a year at the state's 11 four-year universities since 2000. That was the year mounting budget woes sliced state funding and led to three straight years of double-digit tuition increases.

Education officials aren't surprised that students have been unfazed by tuition that has jumped from an average of $2,910 a year in 2000 to $4,720 for the coming school year.

They say the biggest reason is that public universities are still a bargain. They also say lean economic times reinforce the value of college.