It’s been eight years since the Great Recession caused many states to scale back their higher education budgets, and the vast majority of states haven’t fully restored that spending despite improvements in the overall economy.
A new report from the research firm Young Invincibles, a millennial advocacy group, finds that 48 states -- all but Alaska and North Dakota -- are spending less per student on higher education than they did before the recession. Louisiana’s funding has fallen the most since the recession (41 percent), followed by Alabama (39 percent) and Pennsylvania (37 percent).
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On average, states have cut funding per student by 21 percent since the recession. Tuition at public schools has increased 28 percent over the same period. (Private school tuition has increased about 20 percent in that period, according to the College Board.)
Tuition hikes vary greatly by state, with Ohio, Missouri and Maryland seeing total increases of less than 10 percent since 2008. The cost of public higher education in some other states has skyrocketed, led by Arizona (72 percent), Georgia (68 percent) and Louisiana (66 percent).
Analysts graded each of the states on its support for higher education, with 19 states receiving a failing grade, up from 11 states last year. Wyoming was the only state in the country to receive a grade of “A” on the report.
Three-quarters of American college students attend public colleges. A separate December poll by Young Invincibles found that more than 80 percent of millennial voters supported increasing state funding for higher education.