Public Higher Ed Per-Student Spending Drops To 25-Year Low

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The amount being spent per student by public colleges and universities has fallen to its lowest level in at least 25 years, a result of state budget cuts a new report warns are rapidly eroding the nation’s educational edge over its international competitors.

The report, by the Boulder, Colorado-based State Higher Education Executive Officers, or SHEEO, shows that state and local financial support for public universities and colleges fell 7 percent last year, on top of a 9 percent drop the year before. And while enrollment also fell slightly—a result, the organization’s president said, not of lower demand, but of higher tuition—it’s still higher than in 2008, when the steep budget cuts began.

The result is that the amount being spent, per student, is $5,896, the lowest level in the 25 years since it’s been tracked by SHEEO. And a much higher proportion of that is being charged to families in the form of tuition than is being covered by states.

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