The recession is over. So why are some states still cutting funding to higher education?
Adjusted for inflation, 48 states are still spending less per student than they did before the Great Recession. (Alaska and North Dakota are the outliers.) Most of those states have begun to reverse the spending trend, but eight states reduced higher education funding over the last year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank on fiscal issues.
States provide more than half the revenue to support public colleges and universities. When they reduce that spending, the schools generally raise tuition or cut educational services—or both.
Nationwide, CBPP reported tuition has risen by $1,936, or 28 percent, since the 2007-2008 school year, adjusted for inflation. In Arizona, published tuition rates are up more than 80 percent at four-year public colleges and universities. In Florida and Georgia, tuition increased 66 percent.
As Stateline has reported, higher tuition has sunk students even further into debt.
According to CBPP, these 10 states increased per-student funding the most to public colleges and universities in the last year: New Hampshire (28.5 percent), North Dakota (20.3 percent), Florida (18.8 percent), Washington (15.5 percent), Montana (13.3 percent), Massachusetts (11.9 percent), California (11.1 percent), Indiana (10.5 percent), Tennessee (10.2 percent) and Maryland (10 percent).
These eight states reduced higher education funding per pupil from a year ago: Wyoming (-7.2 percent), West Virginia (-4.7 percent), Louisiana (-3.7 percent), Wisconsin (-3.3 percent), North Carolina (-2.3 percent), Kansas (-2.1 percent), Arkansas (-0.7 percent) and Pennsylvania (-0.2 percent).