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      President Obama challenges colleges to halt tuition increases

      President Barack Obama is challenging higher education to stop tuition increases.

      Friday afternoon, the president said he's putting colleges on notice that federal funds will decrease if tuition keeps increasing.

      Last year, tuition at Coastal Carolina University in Conway increased more than three percent. CCU Vice President Eddie Dyer said tuition covers the cost of 90 percent of the school's operations.

      Some CCU students said their tuition is too much to handle.

      "The school's great and everything, but it still shouldn't be as much as it is just to go to school here," said Skyla Williams.

      President Obama is warning if higher education institutions continue to raise costs, they'll pay a hefty price. "If you can't stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down. We should push colleges to do better," said the president.

      Dyer said CCU's increases in tuition match cost of living increases. "He's concerned about the middle class, and we've been concerned about the middle class for decades."

      He said with new construction and more enrollment costs go up.

      The University's board plans to ease tuition next year by capping the $17,000 in-state tuition rate. "Possibly a slight roll back," Dyer said, "So, we certainly appreciate what the president is trying to do, but we've been trying to do that for years."

      But the other fifty percent of CCU students who are out-of-state now pay more than $29,000.

      They'll still see an increase.

      "We keep an eye on tuitions in the northeast, and we don't price ourselves out of the market. This is a competitive business we're in," Dyer said.

      In his address Friday, President Obama also challenged states to take responsibility, because he said last year 40 states cut spending for higher education.

      According to the White House, graduates who took out a loan left college owing an average of $24,000 last year.