State Higher Ed Budgets Rebound
Career College Central summary:
State spending on higher education is up after years of cuts, but public colleges are not yet receiving as much in appropriations as they did before the recession. In the current budget year, which began for most states last July, 40 states increased funding for public colleges, according to the annual Grapevine report released today by the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers.
Over all, state funding for higher ed is up 5.7 percent in the current budget year. That's a significant turnaround from just two years ago, when state funding dropped by nearly 8 percent. A recovery of sorts began in most states in previous budget cycle, when 31 states increased funding.
A nuanced view of this year's budgets, though, shows just over half of that the real dollar increase comes in three large states, California, Florida and Illinois. In Illinois, much of the new higher ed funding has not gone into the classroom but toward shoring up pension funds. Some increases in other states were extremely modest, like a .8 percent increase in Hawaii, and others significant, like the 27 percent increase in New Hampshire.
But, like most of the rest of the country, the increases in those two states last year have yet to restore the funding that was cut following the recession: Hawaii and New Hampshire are both among the 31 states in the country that are spending less on colleges now than before the recession — even in non-inflation adjusted dollars.
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