LAO Suggests Higher Ed Affordability Issue Needs to Refocus Away from Annual Tuition Sticker Price

In testimony before the Assembly Higher Ed committee, LAO spokesperson Judy Heiman presented an overview of financial aid and affordability in California higher ed. The presentation was low key, reviewing various programs such as Cal Grants. With regard to tuition, she suggested that the legislature has been overly focused on the sticker price of annual tuition.

One of the bullet points on her charts reads:

Shifting policy focus away from “How can we minimize the price students pay, no matter the cost to the state?” and toward “How can we make a quality postsecondary education affordable?”

Another suggestion involves varying tuition by program and reads:

Differential tuition by program, mode of instruction, credit status, student level, credit hours accumulated, cohort-based.

The charts for this presentation are at

A video of the hearing can be seen at

The LAO portion of the video is at 22:45 to 37:15. A chart on the share of tuition in undergraduate education costs presented by the LAO is below.