The powers that be in the Great State of the Northwoods gave NWU permission to raise our tuition/fees. The funding the state provides to our state system and our campus in particular has been dropping for a good long time. As far as I know, most state university systems have experienced the same sort of drop in funding.
In the late 70s, state funding paid for about 75% of a given student's eduction. Now, state funding pays for something like 22% of a given student's education. (Your state, system, or campus will probably be different, but it's likely to have experienced a massive drop in state funding for colleges and universities.)
Our plan is to raise tuition an additional chunk (over $1000, but under $1500) for each student; a fair portion of the additional funds will go to aid people with economic need. We'll move from being pretty much the cheapest four year school in the region to nearer the middle of the public pack at about $8000/year for undergrad tuition. If our students were already paying $30,000/year (as they do at Marquette), the additional money wouldn't seem like so much, but it's a huge jump for our students.
Basically, we're recognizing, accepting, and reacting to the long process of reduced state funding by asking students to pay more.
Some public universities have moved towards being private universities in all but name, I'm told. We're not there yet, but it seems like the pendulum is swinging pretty far that way.
For a while, the pendulum was more towards public funding. Programs like the GI bill (which helped pay for my father's education, along with my Mom working), grants, and so forth recognized that education is a public good, that having an educated citizenry helps us in all sorts of ways. You can be totally pragmatic and say that an educated citizenry is more economically productive, or you can be more holistic and say that an educated citizenry is more democratic.
But the pendulum's been swinging the other way for a while now, and the public believes that education is only a private good; we (the public) vote for people who promise to limit funding for the "undeserving," creating welfare queen nightmares, when in truth, the funding limits are for everyone who can't afford better, and to be honest, that's most of us.
To paint it with a broad stroke, I think private education is unethical. I know a lot of people go to private schools at some point, but I think (broadly speaking) if wealthier folks sent their kids to public schools, public schools would be better funded, because those wealthier folks would be willing to pay taxes to give their kids those opportunities. And they'd be arguing publicly for better school funding. And their arguments get heard.
Now my own NWU is taking a step closer to being private. Yeah, we've got a long ways to go, but there's another school down the road that's doing very well stepping ahead of us there, and our administration looks longlingly at them.
To be totally self-centered about this, the additional money should be good for me. There's talk of reducing comp class sizes from a standard 28 to 20, for example. That would reduce my grading load by a nice chunk. I still won't get the 3%+ "furlough" paycut back, nor will I get the 2% raise I was promised six years ago, that kept getting put off.
Unfortunately, I don't see how we can afford to do that without hiring ever more adjuncts. We treat our adjuncts with minimal decency; there's health insurance most semesters, because we try to put together full loads. But the pay's worse than it should be (as it is for we humanities folks here), and there's not even minimal job security, except that we keep hiring the same people. So maybe there's about the same job security as anywhere: we need warm bodies, and if you're moderately competent, you'll get rehired.
My department is already more than 50% adjuncts. So maybe the funding will help us hire some tt folks for lines we've lost in the past several years?
***Edited to add***
I should probably acknowledge that I taught at a private SLAC for three years. There were good folks there, faculty, staff and students. And there were some folks I don't miss at all, pretty much as anywhere. So, there's a level of hypocrisy, perhaps, in my saying I think private education is unethical. I'm not the first person to "sell out" because I needed a job.
I certainly don't think we're getting rid of private education, just the opposite. But I think we'd be a whole lot better off without it.