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Good Years Before the Bad

Good Years Before the Bad
February 28, 2008

As tight budgets for higher education loom in many states this year, data released Wednesday night show how the past few years have seen a relative recovery for colleges that depend on state support -- and a continuation of long-term trends of increased reliance on tuition dollars.

State and local funds per student in 2007 grew 3.6 percent in constant dollars over the previous year, according to an annual report on state finance released by the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The per student figure reached $6,771, which is down from the high point in constant dollars of $7,621 in 2001, but up considerably from the low point in the last 25 years of $6,287 in 2004.

The Center for the Study of Education Policy, at Illinois State University, is considered to have the definitive data each year on pure state appropriations for higher education. In January, the center released data showing a 7.5 percent increase for the current fiscal year, while officials were projecting much smaller increases ahead. The idea behind the SHEEO study is to place more of an emphasis on enrollment trends and inflation, as well as on tuition revenue, to give a fuller picture of the funds and the students coming into public colleges.

The most notable trend in the data is the long-term increase in tuition revenue as a means of supporting higher education, compared to state and local appropriations.

Per FTE Appropriations and Tuition Revenue in Selected Years, in Constant 2007 Dollars

Year Appropriations Per Student Tuition Revenue Per Student
1982 $6,482 $1,834
1987 $7,554 $2,301
1992 $6,779 $2,745
1997 $7,134 $3,232
2002 $7,342 $3,154
2007 $6,771 $3,911

Paul E. Lingenfelter, president of SHEEO, said that the cycles up and down in state support are typical, and that this year's data probably reflect the good years before the bad that is likely to come. One encouraging fact, he said, is that the back-to-back years of higher ed appropriations outpacing inflation and enrollment growth suggest that "people understand how important higher education more than they did five years ago."

There will be a temptation in states this year to rely on tuition revenue, but Lingenfelter said he hoped that legislators would take a balanced approach. "The real challenge is to get student financial aid, tuition and appropriations in balance," he said.

Over the last five years, the data from SHEEO show, total revenue available for higher education has gone up, but largely because of tuition increases.

Higher Ed Revenue Per Student in Constant Dollars Over Last Year and Last 5 Years

  1-Year Change 5-Year Change
Appropriations +3.6% -7.8%
Tuition +4.1% +24%
Total +3.8% +1.8%

Below are state by state data showing one-year and five-year changes in several important categories of public college financing:

  2007 Appropriations Per Full-Time Student 2007 Net Tuition Per Full-Time Student 2007 Total Educational Revenue Per Full-time Student
State 1-Year Change 5-Year Change 1-Year Change 5-Year Change 1-Year Change 5-Year Change
Alabama 13.8% 19.4% -1.5% 60.4% 5.7% 36.7%
Alaska 10.5% 6.7% 4.9% 29.8% 9.1% 11.6%
Arizona 10.3% 7.8% 13.7% 59.5% 11.6% 23.6%
Arkansas 1.3% 4.7% 3.3% 22.8% 2.0% 10.3%
California 3.1% -12.8% 1.6% 67.7% 2.8% -5.1%
Colorado 9.4% -26.2% 1.3% 15.7% 4.5% -6.4%
Connecticut 2.8% -13.9% -0.5% 22.4% 1.4% -2.4%
Delaware 2.5% -9.5% 4.7% 15.5% 3.8% 4.2%
Florida -4.8% -6.8% 32.8% 15.6% 4.8% -0.6%
Georgia 2.3% -5.8% 9.2% 11.9% 3.5% -2.9%
Hawaii 8.2% 21.9% 16.6% 38.0% 9.9% 25.0%
Idaho 3.6% -11.7% -28.5% 13.3% -6.1% -6.9%
Illinois 5.2% -19.6% 2.8% 29.1% 4.5% -9.8%
Indiana 6.9% 7.1% 20.8% 32.8% 13.8% 19.3%
Iowa 0.2% -11.4% 3.6% 28.5% 1.9% 4.5%
Kansas -0.4% -21.2% 9.6% 29.0% 3.4% -6.4%
Kentucky -0.3% -14.3% 16.7% 60.2% 6.5% 7.4%
Louisiana 10.0% 7.2% -9.1% 30.8% 3.8% 12.9%
Maine 1.9% -17.7% 4.1% 24.8% 2.9% -1.3%
Maryland 12.5% -13.2% -1.6% 21.7% 5.5% -0.1%
Massachusetts 0.2% -8.2% 1.3% 29.6% 0.6% 4.0%
Michigan -1.4% -24.3% 5.8% 28.8% 2.4% -2.0%
Minnesota -1.9% -25.9% 2.1% 46.9% -0.1% -4.5%
Mississippi 13.2% -2.0% 3.9% 10.3% 9.7% 2.1%
Missouri 0.3% -9.9% -6.5% 29.4% -2.5% 2.0%
Montana -4.3% -8.5% 4.2% 32.1% 0.0% 9.3%
Nebraska -0.8% 7.8% -10.3% 6.5% -4.1% 7.4%
Nevada -6.4% 10.0% 2.0% -2.9% -5.0% 7.5%
New Hampshire 0.1% -14.2% 13.4% -7.1% 9.2% -9.2%
New Jersey -3.8% -21.2% 5.8% 13.9% 0.3% -8.6%
New Mexico 1.0% 19.7% -22.2% 29.2% -2.4% 20.7%
New York 7.7% 2.7% -1.4% 9.4% 4.8% 4.6%
North Carolina 1.9% -4.3% -3.1% 3.9% 0.7% -2.5%
North Dakota -1.5% -15.7% 0.7% 51.3% -0.5% 5.5%
Ohio -2.2% -18.4% 3.7% 22.6% 0.9% -0.3%
Oklahoma 15.3% 6.0% 4.5% 137.7% 11.7% 28.1%
Oregon -5.6% -20.1% -3.5% 4.6% -4.6% -9.1%
Pennsylvania -1.1% -19.3% -1.0% 0.9% -1.0% -9.2%
Rhode Island -7.5% -20.4% 5.1% 31.1% -0.9% 2.0%
South Carolina 16.4% 16.1% 12.7% 53.8% 14.5% 32.1%
South Dakota -1.5% -15.7% 5.3% 11.6% 2.0% -3.0%
Tennessee 13.2% 17.4% -2.0% 5.2% 7.1% 12.6%
Texas 9.5% 2.3% 15.4% 2.5% 11.4% 2.4%
Utah 1.8% -2.0% 2.7% 41.6% 2.1% 9.5%
Vermont -16.1% -25.9% 3.4% 7.8% -0.9% -0.6%
Virginia 10.7% -14.4% 0.6% 46.1% 5.9% 5.3%
Washington 1.9% -0.7% 4.9% 23.9% 2.6% 4.4%
West Virginia 7.6% -16.9% 2.9% 23.2% 5.3% -1.5%
Wisconsin 3.6% -13.5% -0.2% 30.1% 2.1% -1.0%
Wyoming 1.9% 18.8% 0.3% -6.0% 1.6% 14.5%
U.S. average 3.6% -7.8% 4.1% 24.0% 3.8% 1.8%

 

 

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