Deep Recession-Era Cuts Making for a Difficult Rebound

May 14, 2015

Many states are moderately restoring higher education funding, but major cuts during the 2008 recession have made for an uphill battle.

In 47 states, per-student public funding for higher education remains well below prerecession levels, according to a report released Wednesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That's in spite of the fact that 37 states increased higher education funding last year by an average of nearly 4 percent. The average state is spending $1,805 per student, or 20 percent less than before the 2008 recession. In severe cases -- like in Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and South Carolina -- funding has been reduced by 35 percent.

“Deep state funding cuts have had major consequences for public colleges and universities. States (and to a lesser extent localities) provide roughly 53 percent of the revenue that can be used to support instruction at these schools,” stated the report.

The data in the report are based on the latest edition of an annual report on state appropriations for higher education by the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

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