Mapping higher education cuts and tuition increases

How do changes in funding American higher education play out across the nation?  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has created two very useful maps.

The first identifies just how much individual states reduced funding to public colleges and universities:

changes to state spending 2008-2014

Gas money was good to North Dakota.  Otherwise, it looks like a giant financial meteor struck American higher ed.

Next, Michael Mitchell maps out tuition increases, state by state.  I highlighted Florida as one example:

changes in tuition by state, 2008-2014


Again, a giant financial meteor slammed into the US in 2008, and we’ve been suffering aftershocks for the past seven years.

I like this financial meteor metaphor.

The usual caveats apply: these tuition figures are for published, not net (actually billed) tuition.  They don’t cover private institutions, which are major players in American tertiary education.

What do we learn from this?

  • We’re still recovering from, or, better yet, coping with the 2008 financial crisis.  The economic “recovery” (i.e., some years of slow growth and few contractions) is not helping higher ed.
  • Cutting state support is a bipartisan, transregional thing, embraced by blue and red states alike.  Alabama and Vermont, Texas and California are playing the same game.  Although some Republicans are really upping their play this season.
  • When we think about resource inequality within higher education (for example), these maps reveal a major contributing force.
  • This data condemns higher education lobbying pretty harshly – unless those lobbyists have succeeded in keeping things from getting even worse.  Which is a disturbing thought.

Finally, I ask: what are the countervailing forces here?  What could turn state support around?  What might push tuition down?

(thanks to Pumpkin Yang)

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One Response to Mapping higher education cuts and tuition increases

  1. Pingback: Trends to watch in 2016: education contexts | Bryan Alexander

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