Changing Staffing and Compensation Patterns in Higher Education
The Great Recession intensified these trends, leading to unprecedented declines in state funding for higher education and steep tuition increases:
NATIONWIDE CUTS: 49 states (all but North Dakota) are spending less per student on higher education than they did before the Great Recession.3 In contrast, only 33 states cut per-student spending between 2001 and 2008,4 the period since the last recession.
MANY DEEP CUTS: In many states, the cuts have been especially deep. Since the recession, 28 states have cut per-student funding by more than 25 percent, compared to just one state—Michigan—that did so between 2001 and 2008.
ESCALATING TUITION: Funding cuts have led to large tuition increases. Nationally, average tuition at 4-year public universities increased by 20 percent in the four years since 2008 after rising 14 percent in the four years prior. In seven states, average tuition increased by more than a third, and two states—Arizona and California—have raised it by more than two-thirds, or 66 percent. At public 2-year colleges, average tuition has risen by more than a third in six states.
FAMILIES PRICED OUT: Average tuition at 4-year public schools now consumes more than 15 percent of the median household income in 26 states. Average total cost—including room and board—consumes more than one third of the median household income in 22 states.