A fair query to any public institution that is increasing fees in the manner described in the excerpt below is "what have been the longitudinal trends in annual operating expenses per credit hour over the past 5-10 years?" I suspect that most public institutions have done little to control unit operating costs. Improving unit cost structures and simultaneously improving (measurably) academic performance, should be among the hallmarks of an effective public institution.
As Support Lags, Colleges Tack on Student Fees
Jonathan D. Glater, New York Times, September 4, 2007
When Emily McLain decided to enroll at the University of Oregon, a significant part of the appeal was low tuition. She had not counted on all the fees that unexpectedly appeared on her bill. “I had my dad calling me asking, ‘What’s this for?’ ” said Ms. McLain, 22, a political science and international studies major now entering her last year at the university. This year, for instance, the university is charging a $51 “energy surcharge” for rising electricity costs. A $270 “technology fee” for computer service. There is the $371.25 fee for the campus health center, a $135 fee to maintain buildings and grounds and a $624 “incidental fee,” for student activities. And more. All told, fees add up to $1,542, or nearly an additional 40 percent on top of tuition of $3,984. That does not even count additional fees charged for taking certain courses. College administrators say public universities are increasingly tacking on fees for the same reasons that some are experimenting with differential tuition for different majors: state support for higher education has languished, and legislatures shy away from approving tuition increases. Fees can often be set by individual campuses. Read more ...