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

Rapid increases in public sector tuition prices during the most recent recession, followed by smaller increases as state and local appropriations per student recovered from a large decline, were consistent with historical patterns.

Figure 15A: Annual Percentage Change in Inflation-Adjusted Per-Student State and Local Funding for Higher Education and in Tuition and Fees at Public Institutions, 1986-87 to 2016-17

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: 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 the public sector prices reported in Table 2. 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 2017, Table 307.10; State Higher Education Executive Offices Association (SHEEO), State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) reports; calculations by the authors.

  • Funding per student rose in 2016-17 (in inflation- adjusted dollars) for the fifth consecutive year, following four years of decline.
  • State and local funding per student fell by 24% from$8,270 (in 2016 dollars) in 2006-07 to $6,320 in 2011-12, and then rose by 21% to $7,640 in 2016-17.