State governments in the United States continue to slash funding for “public” higher education. For a generation, states have been gradually gutting public funding for state universities, shifting the costs of college education to students, who must pay higher tuition and fee payments as a result of underfunding universities.
The 2008 financial collapse and recession has greatly worsened the situation for students. State governments have further cut funding to public universities and colleges, as a new report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers shows. The Chronicle of Higher Education summarizes the report’s findings:
“From the beginning of the recession, in the 2007-8 fiscal year, through the 2011 fiscal year, college enrollment increased nationally by 12.5 percent, to 11.5 million students, the report says. But state and local appropriations have decreased by $1.3-billion over the same period.”
These budget cuts directly affect the available education funds per student: “The national average for combined state and local support is now down to $6,290 per full-time student—2.5 percent less than in 2010 and the lowest amount in the past 25 years,” according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The result of successive budget cuts to public education funding is, of course, higher tuition and fees for students: “Over the past 25 years, the percentage of educational revenue supported by tuition has climbed steadily, from 23.2 percent in 1986 to 43.3 percent in 2011.”
The conclusion is clear: higher tuition rates at state universities result directly from the massive de-funding of public education by politicians. A 25-year low in funding equals a 25-year high in tuition.
If Americans want lower college tuitions, they must contact their state legislators and tell them that they want public universities funded by their states.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a short article on the SHEEO report, as well as a link to download that report as a .pdf file.