EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Citizens Research Council of Michigan analyzed public universities and community colleges over the past three decades.

They say a lack of public support and enrollment, is why college is getting more expensive.

“I feel like every time I pay that tuition it is more,” said MSU junior Max Fried.

But it’s not just here in mid-Michigan, across the state families are having to front the cost.

According to a report, annual university charges on an average household income have almost tripled in percentage over the last 30 years.

And it’s not just because colleges are spending more themselves.

“We point to very slow growth in public operating support for postsecondary institutions and particularly true for four-year universities,” said Bob Schneider with the Citizens Research Council.

Colleges used to rely mainly on public support, taxes, and government funding but over the years they’ve increased very little.

“Only 22% of that revenue comes from public support, and 78% comes from tuition… And now that’s the dominant source of support is tuition,” said Schneider.

Families are feeling it. MSU officials say it doesn’t help that Michigan’s average household income is about $10,000 less than the rest of the nation.

“Many of the colleges and universities have experienced declining enrollments over the past two decades… It costs the same amount to keep a classroom building open whether it’s absolutely full, or it’s half full,” said Dr. Brendan Cantwell with the Department of Educational Administration at MSU.

So as they serve fewer students, their costs don’t decline proportionally.

“So those higher costs are passed on to the remaining students at those universities,” said Cantwell.