Total and Per-Student State Funding and Public Enrollment over Time

State funding per full-time equivalent (FTE) student in public institutions declined from a high of $10,110 (in 2014 dollars) in 2000-01 to $6,960 in 2012-13, and rose to $7,540 in 2014-15.

Figure 16B: Total and Per-Student State Funding for Higher Education in 2014 Dollars, and Public FTE Enrollment, 1984-85 to 2014-15

Figure 16B represents Total and Per-Student State Funding for Higher Education in 2014 Dollars, and Public FTE Enrollment, 1984-85 to 2014-15. For a corresponding Section 508-compliant data table, see http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing.

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Enrollment figures are fall FTE enrollments for public two-year and four-year institutions, with fall 2014 estimated at fall 2013 levels. Funding is for both two-year and four-year institutions and includes tax revenues and other state funds for higher education, but excludes funding for capital expenditures. Tuition and fees reflect an FTE enrollment-weighted average of two-year and four-year prices.

SOURCES: The College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges; Illinois State University, Grapevine reports; NCES, Digest of Education Statistics 2013, Table 307.10; NCES, IPEDS fall 2013 enrollment data; calculations by the authors.

  • States appropriated $81 billion for public higher education operations in 2014-15, 3% less (in 2014 dollars) than in 2000-01. Public FTE enrollments rose 30% over these 14 years.
  • Although appropriations per student rose between 2012-13 and 2014-15, the $7,540 in 2014-15 was 14% lower in 2014 dollars than the 2004-05 amount.
  • The sharp declines in per-student state funding in recent years were accompanied by rapid increases in public college tuition and fees. Since state funding started to recover in 2013-14, tuition increases have been much smaller.