In Many States, Higher Education Has Been Left Behind Since the Recession

In 11 states, higher-education appropriations have not recovered at all from the worst years of the Great Recession, according to a report by the association of State Higher Education Executive Officers.
April 15, 2019 AT 7:22 AM

By Eric Kelderman

In 11 states, higher-education appropriations have not recovered at all from the worst years of the Great Recession, according to an annual report released on Tuesday by the association of State Higher Education Executive Officers.

Nationally, said the 2018 "State Higher Education Finance" report, state appropriations per student remained essentially flat from the 2017 to 2018 fiscal years. “Following five straight years of growth in state support, there was nearly no national change in state and local per-student support for higher education after adjusting for inflation,” the study found.

Tuition revenue, which had risen in all but two of the past 25 years, also remained flat compared with the previous fiscal year, the report said. State spending on student financial aid increased by nearly 9 percent, the fourth consecutive increase, according to the study.

But the impact of the recession still casts a long shadow on state appropriations for higher education, the report noted: “Ten years out from the start of the Great Recession, per-student higher education appropriations in the U.S. have only halfway recovered.”

Nationally, state appropriations, on average, fell more than $2,000 per student in the years after the recession, the report said, and remain nearly $1,000 below their pre-recession levels.