Community colleges have often been viewed as cost-effective alternatives to traditional four year public (and definitely private) institutions. A quick look at one example, Austin Community College, shows that a standard 12-hour course load for in-state students costs just above $1,000 a semester. On the other side, a 12-hour course schedule at the University of Texas costs more than $5,000.
However, a 2013 New York Times article titled "The Tuition is Too Damn High, Part III — The three reasons tuition is rising" details higher education spending habits. The graph in the thumbnail illustrates some interesting findings, including community colleges cutting spending dramatically while collecting more net tuition revenue from paying students. Though state funding is looming factor in this trend, community colleges are apparently cutting student benefits through smaller spending, saving more money for a more "cheaper-to-produce" product.