Report Shows State Funding for Higher Education Has Not Bounced Back Since Recession

October 9, 2018

Share this

Title: Unkept Promises: State Cuts to Higher Education Threaten Access and Equity

Author: Michael Mitchell, Michael Leachman, Kathleen Masterson, and Samantha Waxman

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

In a newly released report, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) finds that a decade after the Great Recession hit, state spending on public colleges and universities remains well below historical levels.

The report finds that overall state funding for public two-year and four-year institutions in the 2017-18 academic year was $7 billion less than 2008 levels—a decline of $1,409 per student, or 16 percent, adjusting for inflation. Only four states are spending more now than in 2008: California, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

CBPP argues that steep state cuts have had major consequences for public colleges and universities, including increased tuition and reduced academic opportunities and student services. The reduced investment in higher education comes at a time when public colleges and universities are enrolling more students of color, economically disadvantaged students, and post-traditional learners. According to CBPP, the reduced support may deter some students from enrolling in college as a response to declining affordability, debt, and diminished capacity for diversity and inclusion.

The report provides suggestions for improvement, such as smarter state financial aid policies, targeted funding for particular students, and equity-based funding models to ensure resources go to the institutions in greatest need.

To read the summary and access the full report, please visit CBPP’s website.

—By Jinann Bitar

If you have any questions or comments about this blog post, please contact us.

Keep Reading

Boston College student

Higher Education Will Be Forced to Do This Recession Differently, and That’s a Good Thing

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect a surge in demand for higher education that will disproportionately come from post-traditional students. To respond, colleges and universities must swiftly adapt by broadening their view of learning.

May 4, 2020

Higher Education for the Nation’s Future

ACE President Ted Mitchell introduces the Council’s new Strategic Framework, which will underpin the organization for the next three years and help chart a successful course for the future of higher education.

June 20, 2018

Higher Education Has Changed. Will the Higher Education Act?

The perennial joke about any reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) is that it’s like a Russian novel: It’s long, it’s boring, and by the end, everyone winds up dead. But as yet another HEA reauthorization rolls around, it’s a good bet that many of us will think there’s a fair amount of truth in that old chestnut, writes ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle.

October 18, 2013