Annual Percentage Change in State and Local Funding and Public Tuition and Fees over Time

The largest increases in tuition and fees at public colleges and universities occur during periods when per-student state and local funding for higher education is declining.

Figure 12A: Annual Percentage Change in Inflation-Adjusted Per-Student State and Local Funding for Higher Education and in Tuition and Fees at Public Institutions, 1985-86 to 2015-16

Figure 12A represents Annual Percentage Change in Inflation-Adjusted Per-Student State and Local Funding for Higher Education and in Tuition and Fees at Public Institutions, 1985-86 to 2015-16. For a corresponding Section 508-compliant data table, downloa

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Because of the unavailability of data for 2015-16, all years of data exclude Illinois. Enrollment figures are fall FTE enrollments for public two-year and four-year institutions, excluding medical students. Tuition and fees reflect an FTE enrollment-weighted average of two-year and four-year prices. Funding is for both two-year and four-year institutions and includes tax revenues and other state and local funds for higher education, but not funding for capital expenditures.

SOURCES: College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges; NCES, Digest of Education Statistics 2016, Table 307.10; State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) reports; calculations by the authors.

  • Funding per student fell (in inflation-adjusted dollars) each year from 2008-09 through 2011-12, before rising in 2012-13 and the following three years.
  • Average tuition and fees rose rapidly each year from 2009-10 through 2011-12 but then more slowly the following years as state funding recovered.