Despite the fact that fewer students are enrolling in college, states are spending more on higher education.
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Fiscal support for higher education in fiscal 2020 rose 5 percent across the U.S. to about $96.6 billion, according to an annual report from Grapevine, a project by the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. Fiscal 2020 marks the highest increase in higher education funding since fiscal 2015, even though funding increased in every fiscal year in between.
Over the course of five years, nationwide funding for higher education rose 18.8 percent through fiscal 2020.
Alaska, Hawaii and New York were the only three states to report declines in funding. But five states – California, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey and Tennessee – accounted for nearly half of the national increase in funding for fiscal 2020.
Increased spending on higher education comes as college enrollments decline. As previously reported by FOX Business, postsecondary school enrollment in spring 2019 declined 1.7 percent year over year – or by 300,000 students.
Declines were even steeper at some specific types of institutions: down 19.7 percent at four-year, for-profit institutions; down 3.4 percent at two-year public institutions and down nearly 1 percent at four-year public institutions.
That could be the result of the fact that tuitions have continued to climb. The cost of a public four-year institution in the 2018-2019 school year was about $10,339, while a private four-year institution cost $36,386.
As a result, the country is undergoing a student loan crisis. Outstanding student loan debt is about $1.6 trillion – second only to mortgage debt after having doubled over the past decade.
The study did not look into the health of higher education systems.