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States cutting back most on college funding

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States cutting back most on college funding

Going to college may be part of the American Dream, but it’s getting more and more costly as states have had to cut back on funding for their institutions. The result has been a catch-22 for students, since jobs are looking for educated workers, but the Great Recession of 2008 took a toll on higher education that has had lasting effects.

Using data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) Unkept Promises report, Stacker ranked 49 states based on how much they’ve cut back on higher education spending in the last ten years. States are ranked based on the percent change in spending from 2008 to 2018. Ties were broken by actual price change over that period, which has been adjusted for inflation.

Only four states on the list—North Dakota, California, Hawaii, and Wyoming—actually saw positive growth in spending per student, but Hawaii and California also saw increases in tuition of 79% and 65%, respectively. Fifteen states have lost over 25% in state spending per student.

State cutbacks across hundreds of public colleges and universities nationwide have put the onus on students to pick up the slack, making it nearly impossible to afford college without student loans. Student debt is nearing $1.5 trillion and has become a hot button topic for the 2020 presidential campaign, with many Democratic candidates endorsing the Debt-Free College Act.

In states like Massachusetts, which ranked in the top third, tuition rose for a fifth consecutive year after trustees voted for a 2.5% increase in 2019. All 50 states are included except for Illinois, which was excluded by CBPP because the data to make a valid comparison were not available. The top public universities in each state are also listed, via Niche’s 2019 Best Public Universities in America ranking.

Read on to find out the states cutting back most on college funding.

You may also like:100 best community colleges in America

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#49. North Dakota

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: 16.1%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: $1,387 (#1 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 19.5% ($1,336 increase; #10 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: North Dakota State University, University of North Dakota, Minot State University

The Grand Forks Herald reported at the end of 2018 that state provisions for North Dakota higher education have fluctuated by millions every two years, cutting up to 700 positions since January 2016. Though the system was awarded $90 million of increased funding for the next biennium, a 5% cut from the system’s baseline two years earlier immediately subtracts $27 million. “What we really need is adequate, stable funding because people are competing for students and faculty,” chancellor Mark Hagerott said.

 

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#48. Wyoming

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: 7.8%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: $1,158 (#2 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 24.2% ($1,015 increase; #12 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Wyoming

The General Assembly approved the University of Wyoming's entire $380 million budget request in 2018 with an additional $85 million for a new science building. However, in 2017, the state’s struggling energy industry under the administration of Governor Matt Mead caused $41 million in higher education cuts that resulted in the loss of 332 positions and 37 employee layoffs.

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#47. Hawaii

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: 5.4%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: $1,003 (#3 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 79.7% ($4,726 increase; #3 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Hawaii at Hilo

The CBPP reports per-student funding in Hawaii’s higher education system is 15% lower than its 2008 levels, with the average state tuition up by $4,440. In March, the University of Hawaii reported that if the state passes the proposed $30 million in cuts, the University of Hawaii flagship campus in Manao will have to slash 121 faculty members off of the payroll and up to 100 more throughout the system. Meanwhile, the state’s Democratic senator, Brian Schatz, has proposed the Debt-Free College Act, which would enable Hawaiians to attend a public college without taking out loans.

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#46. California

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: 0.3%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: $25 (#4 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 65.4% ($3,826 increase; #7 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of California - Los Angeles, University of California - Berkeley, University of California - Santa Barbara

Governor Gavin Newsom’s state has a $14.8 billion budget surplus that he has shared with higher education officials, reports EdSource. If he keeps his campaign promises to fund secondary schooling further, the Golden State could offer up to two years of community college for free while increasing the Cal Grant pool, California’s state-funded financial aid, for more non-traditional students.

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#45. Nebraska

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -0.6%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$56 (#5 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 25.3% ($1,670 increase; #14 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Nebraska - Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska at Omaha

A struggling farm economy is one reason Nebraska’s higher education has suffered, according to the Omaha World-Herald, which reported that the three universities in Omaha, Lincoln, and Kearney “trimmed $13 million at midyear in 2016-17 and about $11 million the next year.” Outgoing University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, who maintained four campuses with three straight years of budget cuts, believes casino gaming revenue can help balance out the state cuts to higher education.

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#44. Indiana

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -1.2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$100 (#6 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 15.2% ($1,232 increase; #6 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: Purdue University, Indiana University - Bloomington, Ball State University

Based on the reported 1.2% decrease in per-student spending, “compared to other states Indiana’s higher education spending didn’t drop all that much in the wake of the recession,” reports Indiana Public Media. In 2009, the Hoosier State restricted colleges from raising tuition beyond inflationary rates to keep secondary education affordable. Indiana Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers said if the state preaches that secondary schooling equals prosperity, then it must be cost effective.

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#43. Montana

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -1.9%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$123 (#7 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 10.2% ($638 increase; #3 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: Montana Technological University, Montana State University

President Donald Trump’s proposed 2020 budget cuts federal funding to the Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institutions plan (NASNTI), a program that has successfully kept minority students on the Montana State University Northern campus in the last few years. Because the campus population is at least 10% Native American, the school was awarded a $1.9 million grant in 2015 for five years. That financing expires this fiscal year, leaving Montana in jeopardy of losing higher education funding.

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#42. New York

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$219 (#8 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 32.2% ($1,938 increase; #20 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: United States Military Academy at West Point, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Binghamton University, SUNY

The Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York (PSC-CUNY) began a citizen-petition advocating that Albany lawmakers close the budget gap on the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to freeze tuition. CUNY stands to lose up to $74 million in cuts, which would inevitably cut course programs, library hours, and adjunct faculty salaries. Meanwhile, “Assembly member Deborah Glick and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, the higher education chairs, are working now to pass stand-alone legislation to begin to close the gap, which will amount to $86 million at CUNY next year,” reports PSC-CUNY.

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#41. Maine

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -2.4%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$220 (#9 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 14.9% ($1,294 increase; #5 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: Maine Maritime Academy, University of Maine

To compensate for lost funding, the University of Maine opened up in-state tuition rates to other New England students, charging non-residents $15,000 less in fees to enroll in the Pine Tree State’s college system. With the present state funding, Maine residents who graduate college incur an average debt of $30,000, with 28.3% graduating after four years and 47.8% in six years.

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#40. Maryland

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -3.5%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$306 (#10 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 10.7% ($928 increase; #4 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Maryland - College Park, University of Maryland - Baltimore County, St. Mary's College of Maryland

The Maryland General Assembly remains committed to keeping secondary school costs as low as possible. Gov. Larry Hogan just passed the state’s most massive education budget ever, with the University System of Maryland receiving a record $1.45 billion in funding. Additionally, undergraduate tuition growth remains capped at 2% for any four-year school, and $325 million of the capital budget was set aside for higher education projects.

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#39. Alaska

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -6%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,131 (#18 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 42.2% ($2,206 increase; #17 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Alaska Southeast, University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of Alaska officials declared financial exigency to accommodate the $136 million slash in state funding for higher education that took effect July 1, 2019. The cuts include immediate faculty layoffs and reducing campus size, both of which are detrimental to the system, according to Board of Regents Chair John Davies. “We have as indicated a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that the institution survives. And I think unfortunately, we are right now grappling with survival,” he said.

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#38. South Dakota

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -6.2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$492 (#11 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 33.7% ($2,128 increase; #22 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, South Dakota State University, University of South Dakota

In 2017, South Dakota’s higher education spending ranked below the national and regional average, according to the Argus Leader, reporting the state allots $5,000 for each full-time student, compared to other states’ $7,500 average. Though the legislature killed the $3.5 million “Dakota Promise” 2017 scholarship proposal by the South Dakota Board of Regents, who control the state’s six universities, University of South Dakota President Sheila Gestring said officials are planning to offer another $5.7 million proposal for consideration.

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#37. Minnesota

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -7.5%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$702 (#14 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 22.6% ($2,082 increase; #11 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, University of Minnesota - Morris, University of Minnesota - Duluth

Minnesota Daily reports that since the late 2000s recession, the Gopher State spends the least amount of its general revenue fund for higher education when compared to its sister states. However, in May, the Minnesota House of Representatives placed a two-year freeze on tuition increases to curb state funding cuts and increased state grant programs by $35.4 million, giving full-time students an additional $400 in annual financial assistance.

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#36. Oregon

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -8.9%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$590 (#13 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 47.3% ($3,327 increase; #13 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Oregon Institute of Technology

Following 31 layoffs in 2017, the University of Oregon just let 40 more employees go and cut programs because of a lack of state funding, reports The Register-Guard. As tuition increases to balance state budget cuts, Ben Cannon, executive director of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Committee, said the college system is still trying to dig itself out of the Great Recession hole from more than a decade ago.

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#35. Colorado

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -9.2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$495 (#12 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 68.0% ($4,370 increase; #6 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado - Boulder, Colorado State University

Colorado Public Radio reports that following the Great Recession, tuition increases of up to 44% have students picking up the state funding slack, and “tuition costs are still expected to grow by 3.7% at the University of Colorado Boulder and 3% at Colorado State University.” Additionally, the Bell Policy Center reports that state funding slashes from 33% in 2000 to 68% in 2016 have doubled student costs across the 31 public schools and universities. In 2019, Governor Jared Polis increased higher-education spending 12.9% in his new budget.

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#34. Tennessee

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -10.8%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,205 (#19 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 54.3% ($3,446 increase; #11 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Tennessee, University of Memphis, Tennessee Technological University

The University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro said he and an advisory group prepared in 2014 for a potential $377 million budget shortfall the system could face, but unexpected state appropriations of $72 million allowed the school to avoid tuition increases. To keep the increase at less than 3%, DiPietro’s team formulated a long-term plan focused on generating revenue from advancements in research and increasing annual pledges.

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#33. Massachusetts

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -12.1%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,295 (#22 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 36.5% ($3,407 increase; #25 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Massachusetts - Amherst, University of Massachusetts - Lowell, University of Massachusetts - Boston

The University of Massachusetts just raised their annual tuition by 2.5% after finding out that the General Assembly did not approve their $568 million funding request. Though the $558 million awarded is $29 million more than last year, the University of Massachusetts stills owes in union contracts for faculty and staff, resulting in the fifth year of tuition increase. The most recent addition definitely makes the future dubious. As student Solomon Berenson said to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, “we’re talking big money here.”

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#32. Georgia

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -12.4%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,399 (#25 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 73.4% ($3,629 increase; #4 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia, Georgia Southern University

The Peach State has reduced higher-education funding more than just five other states in the country based on the National Bureau of Economic Research, according to the Augusta Chronicle. In 2001, the state funded up to 42.2% of revenues, with student costs accounting for 13.4% of funds. “In the 2018 fiscal year, the state contributed 27.3%, while student tuition and fees made up 31.0%; triple the percent in 2001,” reported the newspaper.

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#31. Rhode Island

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -12.6%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$948 (#16 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 43.2% ($3,688 increase; #16 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Rhode Island

Gov. Gina Raimondo continues to fight for free education in the state during her second term, while the state’s per-student spending has dropped by 12.6% in a decade. Under the Rhode Island Promise, graduating high school students can attend the Community College of Rhode Island for free as long as they are full time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and complete 30 semester credits each year by attending both fall and spring semesters. Raimondo is working to open the same option up to non-traditional students who attend Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island.

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#30. Arkansas

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -12.8%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,263 (#21 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 29.2% ($1,933 increase; #19 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Arkansas, Arkansas State University, Arkansas Tech University

The new higher education funding formula based on school performance has some Arkansas schools seeing more money than others, with 18 out of 32 funded below their baseline. Based on productivity, including successful student transfers and credentials awarded schools can gain or lose up to 1.5% of their overall funding and up to 2% every year after that. For example, Arkansas State University - Newport’s productivity index rose 8.8%, granting it another $921,406 above its 2019 baseline.

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#29. Florida

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -13%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,261 (#20 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 58.9% ($2,360 increase; #8 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Florida, Florida State University, University of South Florida

While the Sunshine State’s per-student spending is down by 13%, Florida recently passed a $90 billion budget with $15 million going to the University of Florida and the Florida State University to maintain national college rankings. The overall cut to the higher education system was $35 million, with the University of Central Florida receiving the least because of a recent spending scandal that violated state regulations.

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#28. Washington

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -15.7%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,479 (#23 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 33.9% ($2,402 increase; #23 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Washington, Washington State University, University of Washington - Tacoma

In March, the University of Washington reported the state’s “disinvestment” in secondary schooling began during the Great Recession, with the school losing more than $132 million in the 2009-11 school years, which slashed per-student spending in half. Capped tuition and insufficient funding have left the school with unequal operating costs and funds. “Ten years later, the state has not yet restored funding to pre-recession levels, despite the UW serving thousands more students annually,” according to the website.

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#27. Vermont

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -15.8%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$852 (#15 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 29.0% ($3,646 increase; #18 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Vermont, Vermont Technical College

In the last year, Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Jeb Spaulding requested the state raise higher education funding from 17% to 30%, up to $25 million, an amount he said would put the school on track with adjacent New England institutions. Meanwhile, the University of Vermont faculty and students protest incentive-based budget cuts, which determine state funding by enrollment numbers. The lack of admission and funding recently resulted in reductions to the school’s College of Arts and Sciences programs.

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#26. Virginia

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -16.5%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,306 (#24 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 54.7% ($4,534 increase; #10 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, College of William & Mary

After a 20% increase in tuition over the last five years, Virginia implemented a statewide tuition freeze to keep college affordable. This is the first freeze tuition freeze in almost two decades, according to the Associated Press, reporting “lawmakers included $57.5 million in this year’s state budget for colleges that agreed to freeze their tuition to share.” Based on a Penn State College Affordability Diagnosis, Virginia only provides $315 of need-based financial aid to each student, versus the national average of $474.

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#25. Michigan

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -16.7%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,017 (#17 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 28.7% ($2,886 increase; #16 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University

The University of Michigan reports that incoming Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed a 3% increase in higher education funding, but there is a catch. To receive their fair share of the overall $1.7 billion budget, each university must cap tuition increases at 3.2% or only up to 1% of expected inflation levels. “Whitmer said the increased funding supports the goal she announced earlier this year to increase the number of Michigan adults who have a post-secondary degree or certificate from 44% today to 60% by 2030,” reports the school.

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#24. Ohio

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -18.1%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,304 (#23 lowest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 5.0% ($500 increase; #1 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: The Ohio State University, Miami University, University of Cincinnati

Inter-University Council of Ohio President Bruce Johnson said funding for secondary schooling in the Buckeye State has not returned to pre-recession levels, specifically because of inflation. He noted the disinvestment in Ohio, which is the same nationwide, is largely due to public funding for higher education being shared more among K-12 schools and medical funding. “There’s much more need out there than there is ability to meet the need, and, unfortunately, higher education is not high enough on the priority list,” he said.

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#23. Idaho

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -18.2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,015 (#19 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 39.9% ($2,069 increase; #21 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Idaho, Boise State University

In March, the Idaho General Assembly voted down the state education budget, questioning several line items of note including $263,000 to award tenured teachers a $4,000 annual pay raise. Last year, outgoing University of Idaho President Chuck Staben’s budget request, which included a $769,500 request to hire a chief executive officer, was also questioned by legislators. Incoming President Scott Green said closing the funding gap to make higher education more affordable is one of his top priorities.

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#22. Utah

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -18.5%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,719 (#21 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 41.5% ($1,989 increase; #19 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Utah, Utah State University, Southern Utah University

The Utah System of Higher Education reports while state proportions for four-year schooling have declined in the last decade, it is “relatively strong” in comparison to other states with a steady 6.2% increase in 2017. The Board of Regents adopted a decade-long plan to enroll 50,000 students by 2025. The plan calls for average annual growth of 5.2% in the next 10 years to keep tuition affordable.

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#21. North Carolina

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -18.6%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,357 (#16 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 45.0% ($2,293 increase; #14 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Appalachian State University

The $24 billion budget for public education voted down in July could be a good thing, according to North Carolina Policy Watch, reporting it may have duped higher education. “Public university faculty have received legislative raises of 1.5% or less since 2008-09, but legislators chose to provide average raises of just 0.5% for 2019-20 and 2020-21,” reports Progressive Pulse. Additionally, community college professors would only see a 1% increase in annual raises, which are already reportedly lower than K-12 teachers.

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#20. Connecticut

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -20.2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$3,203 (#7 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 38.4% ($3,437 increase; #23 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Connecticut, University of Connecticut - Stamford, University of Connecticut - Avery Point

Unfunded benefit pension and liability is causing tuition increases in the Constitution State, reports the Connecticut Mirror. The University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst said to maintain stability in 2020, the higher education system must receive $328.6 million in collective bargaining raises and flat funding. One of the biggest disadvantages of $166.4 million in cuts during the last decade is the inability to hire tenured teachers, according to Herbst.

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#19. Texas

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -22.2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,074 (#18 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 29.0% ($2,210 increase; #17 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Texas - Austin, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University

In 1984, 47% of the University of Texas - Austin’s annual revenue came from state funding. In 2018, it was 12%. The decline has affected the Permanent University Fund (PUF), which is the annual return on oil and mineral revenues dedicated to higher education that contributes to the Available University Fund (AUF). Funding for the Texas college system is based on enrollment, with the University of Texas - Austin receiving 10% of the AUF annual financing.

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#18. Nevada

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -22.2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,567 (#11 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 55.8% ($2,606 increase; #9 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Nevada - Reno, University of Nevada - Las Vegas

Nevada’s university system’s capacity for growth has been cut in half, eliminating up to $20.9 million that would have gone to the University of Nevada - Reno, and University of Nevada - Las Vegas. The system was given $19.75 million to enlarge Nevada State College and the community colleges, leaving no growth budget for the state’s most prominent schools. The Nevada System of Higher Education’s overall budget request this year was $2.5 billion for the next biennium.

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#17. Wisconsin

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -22.8%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,527 (#22 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 18.2% ($1,380 increase; #8 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

Wisconsin had the fourth-largest decline in per-student spending behind Mississippi, Virginia, and Oklahoma, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, reporting that, “educational appropriations fell by more than 24% nationwide since 2008, mainly due to increases in enrollment and a lack of proportional funding increases.” The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone said the school on Lake Michigan’s western shore saw up to $42 million in cuts from the budget between 2015-17.

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#16. New Jersey

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -23.5%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,387 (#13 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 17.6% ($2,075 increase; #7 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: Rutgers University - New Brunswick, The College of New Jersey, Rutgers University - Newark

In the last 25 years, the Garden State’s higher education funding was reduced by 41% while college admissions rose by 58%. Gov. Phil Murphy is working to equal out the percentages in his 2020 budget that would provide up to $16.6 million in direct provisions. Additionally, Murphy has proposed tuition-free community college for qualifying students at 13 of the state’s 19 two-year schools.

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#15. Kansas

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -26%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,999 (#20 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 35.8% ($2,433 increase; #24 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University

Governor Laura Kelly’s restoration of $8.9 million in general funding to offset the 2016 cut of $30.7 million, plus the General Assembly’s addition of $19.5 million, has increased higher education dollars by $28.4 million this year. However, the increase is still short of the $50 million the Kansas Board of Regents requested to assure tuition would not increase. Since the Great Recession, the Sunflower State has had $69 million in higher education funding cut from the state budget.

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#14. West Virginia

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -26%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,370 (#14 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 51.4% ($2,677 increase; #12 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: West Virginia University, Marshall University

After covering public employee insurance and a 5% increase in teacher salaries, West Virginia’s higher education costs could lead to a $35 million budget shortfall, leaving officials concerned about the already “maxed out” tuition rates. This year West Virginia State University approved a 7% tuition increase for in-state undergraduates, according to the West Virginia Education Association, reporting, “Mountain State tuition has increased by almost a third—by $1,629—since the 2007-08 academic year, around when the latest national recession began.”

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#13. Delaware

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -26.2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,364 (#15 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 32.9% ($3,035 increase; #21 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Delaware

In 2016, Delaware State University had to cut up to 23 academic programs due to low enrollment and lack of funding. The cuts in 11 departments, including education, applied chemistry, and consumer science, would reportedly save the system almost $1 million by 2020. Even though the cuts resulted in 76 fewer college courses, Delaware State University still added a tuition increase for both in-state and out-of-state students.

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#12. Kentucky

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -27.2%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,986 (#9 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 38.8% ($2,878 increase; #22 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Murray State University

Funding cuts have jeopardized college affordability in the Bluegrass State since the Great Recession, with tuition and fees across all eight universities and 16 two-year schools increasing by up to 4.5% since the 2008-09 academic year. The cost of attending the University of Kentucky since 2008-09 was $7,564 for a full-time student; now the total is $11,656 for the same in-state student.

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#11. Iowa

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -28.1%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,528 (#12 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 19.1% ($1,407 increase; #9 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa

Tuition at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University may raise beyond the 3% projection and up to 5% because of legislators denying the Iowa Board of Regents an extra $6 million in their budget request. Last year an $11 million state funding cut caused a halt in construction on the University of Iowa campus. The deficit has become so detrimental that University of Iowa Student Body President Hira Mustafa said students are being forced to choose between paying for college and eating healthy.

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#10. New Hampshire

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -29.7%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$1,415 (#24 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 40.2% ($4,607 increase; #20 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of New Hampshire, University of New Hampshire at Manchester

The Union Leader reports that since the Great Recession, the university system in the Granite State has not seen the average $100 million in annual state funding it once received. Since 2011, New Hampshire schools have only seen half that amount annually, causing less enrollment because of students’ doubting the quality of the system. The University System of New Hampshire Chancellor Todd Leach said he is unsure if the system ever recovered from that stigma.

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#9. Missouri

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -31.1%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,291 (#17 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 9.7% ($782 increase; #2 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Missouri, Missouri University of Science & Technology, Truman State University

In 2018, the Missouri General Assembly struck a deal with higher education officials to equal out the $38 million in funding cuts Gov. Eric Greitens recommended if the university system capped tuition costs. By transferring $30 million in grant funding into Missouri State University’s direct appropriations, the system was able to maintain 32 staff positions that otherwise would have dissolved. "I’ve never seen a better sense of bipartisanship and across-the-building cooperation between the House and Senate than what they’re doing with higher education," said Hal Higdon, the chancellor for Ozark Technical College.

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#8. South Carolina

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -31.9%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$3,036 (#8 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 27.5% ($2,717 increase; #15 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: Clemson University, University of South Carolina, Citadel Military College of South Carolina

In 1999, the South Carolina higher education system received up to 15% of its budget in state funding, which dropped to 7% by 2013. For the first time in 21 years, the University of South Carolina increased tuition by 0.6%, while the remaining four-year schools went up by 1% or less. Of all four-year institutions, the University of South Carolina School of Law is most in need of lower tuition since its annual cost of $29,608 is well over the University of North Carolina School of Law’s $24,172 yearly rate.

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#7. New Mexico

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -34%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$4,792 (#2 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 37.8% ($1,899 increase; #24 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: New Mexico Tech, New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico

In the last decade, New Mexico’s tuition rose to 38% (versus the national average of 36%), placing it in the top 10 states cutting back most on college funding. Between 2008–2018, the actual change in state spending per student nationally was $1,502 compared to New Mexico’s $4,792, which is the #2 worst in the country. Meanwhile, the state’s lottery scholarship and college affordability fund are limited, covering only a portion of student tuition.

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#6. Mississippi

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -34.4%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$3,624 (#6 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 42.0% ($2,364 increase; #18 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, University of Southern Mississippi

The Daily Mississippian reports how “all eight university presidents made a sobering plea to lawmakers,” in 2018 regarding funding cuts and tuition increases. Mid-year budget cuts in 2017 cost the university system more than $40 million when the original $748 million fiscal plan was reduced to $702 million. In 2018, the higher education system received millions less again when it was allocated $667 million for the fiscal year.

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#5. Alabama

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -34.6%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$4,290 (#3 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 69.8% ($5,355 increase; #5 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: Auburn University, University of Alabama - Birmingham, The University of Alabama

Funding for colleges and universities was one of the first items to be slashed in Alabama during the recession, suffering the highest cuts in 48 years. Alabama is hoping to reverse the trend ten years later, however, signing a record education bill in May 2019 that gave at least 5% increases to every school, although some inequities remain, according to lawmakers. The nearly $4,300 reduction in per-student spending is topped by only Louisiana and New Mexico.

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#4. Pennsylvania

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -37.3%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$2,820 (#10 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 24.7% ($2,859 increase; #13 lowest)
- Top public universities in the state: Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University

The Keystone State has actually increased the total funding for higher education over the past four years, following six years of steep decline, but tuition remains nearly double the national average. The state set up the PA Forward Student Loan Program in 2019 to help make the cost of higher education more affordable. The state system’s Board of Governors also froze tuition for the first time in over 20 years as a gesture of goodwill.

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#3. Oklahoma

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -37.3%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$3,692 (#5 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 43.3% ($2,556 increase; #15 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, University of Central Oklahoma

The Sooner State’s 11 regional universities have had to raise tuition by 75% since 2008 to offset steep budget cuts to higher education. Gov. Kevin Stitt campaigned on making Oklahoma a “top-10 state” for higher education, and the state legislature approved a modest $25 million increase in funding for the 2020 fiscal budget. Despite the budget boost, 16 of the state’s colleges raised tuition by an average of 2.5% for 2019.

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#2. Louisiana

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -40.6%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$4,949 (#1 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 105.4% ($4,773 increase; #1 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University, University of Louisiana - Lafayette

Higher education has taken the brunt of budget cuts within the Bayou State, and schools like LSU have had to get creative to bridge the gap created by former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 60% slash from 2008 to 2016. Louisiana has the dubious distinction of cutting the most actual dollars in state spending, while also raising tuition more than any state. The state legislature completed a last-minute deal in 2018 to avoid even further slashes to the state budget, including saving the state’s main scholarship program.

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#1. Arizona

- Percent change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -55.7%
- Actual change in state spending per student, 2008–2018: -$3,742 (#4 highest)
- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018: 91.3% ($5,355 increase; #2 highest)
- Top public universities in the state: Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Arizona State University - Downtown Phoenix Campus

Tax cuts following the Great Recession put a hurt on Arizona’s higher education funding, causing tuition at the state’s universities to nearly double over the past 10 years. But tax cuts aren’t solely to blame for tuition hikes, as the state’s three universities are collecting four times the amount of tuition revenue more than what was cut. University officials cited increased enrollment and small tuition hikes as the impetus for the sharp increase, but reports in 2019 revealed that 199 of the top 200 highest paid public employees in the state worked in the higher education system.

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