Thirty states will spend more on high er education in the current fiscal year, but overall state spending is down 0.4 percent, according to an annual survey by Illinois State University and the State Higher Education Executive Officers. Since fiscal 2008, state higher education spending has declined nearly 11 percent.
New Mexico will spend a measly 0.1 percent percent more: energy-rich Wyoming will boost spending by nearly 14 percent. But Florida will cut higher ed spending by 8 percent.
In California, where state money for colleges fell nearly 6 percent from the year before, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has proposed increasing state funds for the public-college systems by 4 percent to 6 percent in the coming fiscal year. As in many other states, that proposal came with the expectation that state colleges will keep tuition flat and increase their efficiency in producing graduates.
During the past five years, more than a dozen states have cut college funding by more than 20 percent. Arizona (37 percent) and New Hampshire (36 percent) have cut the most.
“Barring a further downturn in the economy, the relatively small overall change … suggests that higher education may be at the beginning stages of a climb out of the fiscal trough caused by the last recession,” says a news release accompanying the survey data.
However, a new report from Moody’s Investors Services predicts tough times for higher education with stagnant state funding, student resistance to tuition increases and a declining number of high school graduates.