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State funding for higher education is still lagging

State funding for higher education is still lagging

Most states still are spending less per student than they were before the 2008 recession.

Funding for higher education remains well below pre-recession levels in almost all states, a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says.

The center has found that even though most states have begun restoring funding to their higher education systems, 47 states are spending less per student now than they did before the recession struck in 2008.

As a result, public colleges and universities have had to raise tuition and make spending cuts that may erode the quality of education.

"States must reinvest in their colleges and universities now to build the workforce they need to compete in decades to come," says Michael Mitchell, policy analyst at the center and author of the report.

The average state is spending $1,805, or 20 percent, less per student than it did in 2008, the report found. To make up for the decline in state investment, public colleges and universities have increased tuition considerably.

Annual published tuition at four-year public colleges has risen by $2,068, or 29 percent, since the 2007-08 school year, after adjusting for inflation.

Thirteen states cut per-student higher education funding further this year even as the economy recovers and revenues have returned to pre-recession levels.

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