May 18th, 2015
A few weeks ago, I took my daughter to see the latest Disney movie. Because it was early in the afternoon, and my daughter is 5, I expected to get a significant discount on the price of our tickets. The electronic ticket kiosk had other intentions. “1 Adult: $11.00” and “1 Child: $10.00.”
It turned out that the full matinee discount applied only to the 10:45 a.m. showing. The child price break, meanwhile, had been squeezed to a single dollar. Technically, both discounts still existed. But by limiting their size and availability, the theater was steadily pushing more tickets toward the full-market price.
Something similar has been happening in the market for higher education. Over the last decade, state governments and universities have been chipping away at a pillar of American opportunity: in-state tuition.