NEA Higher Ed Funding Report Released

ASA partnered with NEA to produce the report The Higher Ed Funding Rollercoaster: State Funding of Higher Education During Financial Crises.

This brief provides an overview of state higher education funding during our recent history and the magnitude of the effects the Great Recession and the Pandemic had on state spending for higher education. It also explores what is to come for higher education financing in the near future.

Key takeaways include:

  1. Across the U.S., 32 states spent less on public colleges and universities in 2020 than in 2008, with an average decline of nearly $1,500 per student. Often, declining state revenues are replaced with increased tuition and fees, causing students and families to pay more.
  2. Although 32 states’ funding had not yet recovered to pre-recessionary levels, overall higher education funding was on an upswing for the few years prior to the pandemic; state funding increased in many states with funds earmarked to help control quickly rising tuition by restricting increases or freezing tuition levels and boosting financial aid.
  3. COVID-19 took a toll on state funding: inflation-adjusted appropriations declined in 37 states between FY20 and FY21.
  4. FY22 was a mixed bag, but where state funding increased, institutions were often unable to keep up due to high inflation.
  5. The future is hesitantly optimistic for FY23. There is indication that higher education funding and finance will remain a priority in state budgets, legislation, and other education policy. But the high inflation may continue to erode funding gains.

Read more and download the report.