A new piece on Inside Higher Education indicates that 40 states allocated more money year-over-year for higher education. Nationally, this meant a very strong increase of 5.7%. New Hampshire (27.3%), North Dakota (19.2%) and Florida (17.6%) had the biggest increases for the current budget year.
However, while this is promising news, the reality is that more than two-thirds of U.S. states currently fund higher education at a level lower than they did pre-recession. The three states farthest from their pre-recession funding numbers? Louisiana (-34.4%), Arizona (-24.4%), and Nevada (-21.8%).
There are many negative effects from such drastic funding cuts. According to this post from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, higher education cuts over the past five years have resulted in increased tuition, university job losses (and significant effects on local economy from those job losses), an exacerbation of a lack of higher education affordability, and potential harms to quality of education.
So, while it’s beneficial to students, families, university staff and local economies that these budgets are rebounding, the fact that state higher education funding has still not hit its pre-recession level is good reason to continue to monitor such budget developments and their impacts.