All but three states in the U.S. spent less money per student on higher education last year than they did before the Great Recession. As states recover from the economic downturn and subsequent funding cuts, public colleges and universities were trying to make up the difference by hiking their tuition and slashing spending, according to a report published Wednesday by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a research group based in Washington, D.C.
“The impact of the funding cuts has been dramatic,” the report's authors wrote. “Public colleges have both steeply increased tuition and pared back spending, often in ways that may compromise the quality of education and jeopardize student outcomes."
At least 47 states spent less per student during the 2014-2015 school year than in 2007-2008. Spending is about 20 percent per student lower nationally, CNN reported. The report showed Arizona and Louisiana made the biggest cuts. When adjusted for inflation, they decreased per-student spending by 47 percent and 42 percent, respectively. That measures out to more than $4,300 less per student in those states.
The only exceptions to the trend were Alaska, which increased spending by 3.9 percent, or $711; North Dakota, 35.5 percent, or $2,949; and Wyoming, 5.4 percent, or $772.
Most states were attempting to recover from the recession: 37 states dedicated more money per higher education student in the 2014-2015 school year than in 2013-2014, according to the report. When adjusted for inflation, the actual amounts ranged from about $1,090 (Connecticut) to $16 (Louisiana). But the other 13 states, among them Kentucky, Texas and Tennessee, continued to reduce per-student spending, the Hill reported.
Another casualty of the recession was annual tuition, which has gone up by about 30 percent since the 2007-2008 school year, according to the report. Arizona made the biggest increase, hiking annual tuition 83.6 percent, or $4,734 per student. The second-largest tuition hike was in Hawaii, where annual tuition rose by 70 percent, or $4,010.
Last year's tuition increases were not as big as in previous years, but in general "students are paying more through increased tuition and by taking on greater levels of debt," according to the report. The center warned this could "put college out of reach" for more people.
Read the full report here.