State funding for public higher education institutions and student financial aid have a direct impact on student success, a new report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association concluded.
The report examined 100 empirical research studies that measured the impacts of state appropriations on institutional and student outcomes.
State appropriations feed directly into revenues for public higher education institutions. When states pass budget cuts, doctoral institutions are more likely to fill resulting budget gaps through tuition increases. Meanwhile, two- and four-year institutions often cut expenditures on instruction, academic support and student services, the report said.
Decreases in state funding also lead to enrollment declines and lower graduation rates. When appropriations are cut, in-state undergraduate enrollment falls and more students turn to the for-profit sector, the report said. Enrollment drops and lower graduation rates lead to decreases in statewide bachelor’s degree attainment, the report said.
“Many states have set ambitious attainment goals, and meeting these goals is necessary for ensuring that states have an educated workforce. Ultimately, states won’t be able to meet their attainment goals and workforce needs without additional investment in public higher education institutions,” Robert E. Anderson, president of SHEEO, said in a statement. “Money matters, regardless of the appropriation mechanism, but we can’t sacrifice one area of funding for another.”
Higher state funding for student financial aid causes student enrollment patterns to shift as low-income students become able to afford more expensive colleges, the report said. Students are also less likely to leave the state for college and more likely to graduate and graduate on time.