States cut higher education spending per student

States cut higher education spending per student

Most states are spending less per student at public higher education institutions now than they did before the recession, according to a report released Wednesday by the liberal-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). 

Forty-seven states are spending less on each student than they did before 2008. The only states not spending less are Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming, the 26-page report said. 

The recession forced many states to increase tuition at public universities and cut spending by an average of 20 percent on each student.

“The impact of the funding cuts has been dramatic,” the report said. “Public colleges have both steeply increased tuition and pared back spending, often in ways that may compromise the quality of education and jeopardize student outcomes.”

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Arizona has cut the most per student since 2012. It has cut nearly half of its spending per student enrolled at public colleges and universities.

Louisiana cut spending per student by 42 percent and South Carolina cut it by about 38 percent, the report said.

Since the recession, public colleges and universities across the country have increased tuition by nearly a third, the report said.

Of all 50 states, Arizona imposed the highest tuition increase since 2008 with a nearly 84 percent hike, an increase of $4,734 per student. Hawaii had the second-largest increase. Montana, Maryland and Ohio saw the smallest increases. 

CBPP said tuition increases are preventing students — especially those who come from low-income households —from enrolling in college. These tuition hikes, the report argues, are forcing low-income students to apply to less selective colleges.

While the report notes state revenues have improved over the last seven years, CBPP said states should consider new taxes to help public universities.

“To return higher education funding to pre-recession levels, many states may need to supplement that revenue growth with new revenue to fully make up for years of severe cuts,” the report said.

In the last year, CBPP found 37 states have increased funding per student at public universities by about 3.9 percent. 

The report said Illinois, Maine, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Delaware, Tennessee, Alaska, Indiana, Arkansas, Vermont, Texas, Kentucky, West Virginia have all continued to cut funding over the last year.