According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, all but two states in the U.S. are contributing less funds towards higher education than they did before the recession hit. Except for North Dakota and Wyoming, each state now contributes about 28% less funding per university student than they did before 2008. Arizona and New Hampshire have reduced their contributions to university students by half. Most other states have reduced their funding by a third.
Public institutions are more affordable because they typically draw about 53% of their operating cost from state governments. Now that most state governments won’t allocate as much funding, public universities are forced to compromise their own budgets, which most immediately means cutbacks in staff – Arizona schools have cut over 2,100 positions to date. Tighter funds also mean fewer course offerings and the reduction or closure of computer labs and other information resources.
This forces students to pay more for their educations in the form of elevated tuition rates, while state scholarships funding decreases. The report hypothesizes that this could have been avoided if states reacted to the recession by raising taxes to increase revenue and cutting costs in various sectors other than higher education.