The Great Cost Shift: How Higher Education Cuts Undermine The Future Middle Class

Source: John Quinterno, Dēmos, March 2012

From the summary:
This report examines how state disinvestment in public higher education over the past two decades has shifted costs to students and their families. Such disinvestment has occurred alongside rapidly rising enrollments and demographic shifts that are yielding more economically, racially, and ethnically diverse student bodies. As a result students and their families now pay–or borrow–a lot more for a college degree or are getting priced out of an education that has become a requirement for getting a decent job and entering the middle class.

This study traces trends in the size and composition of the young adult population and analyzes patterns in state support for public higher education over the past two decades. Trends in tuition and financial aid are also examined and policy recommendations are presented for ways to renew America’s commitment to nurturing a strong and inclusive middle class through investments in public higher education.

Key highlights of the report include:
State Investment in Higher Education
– A review of financial data from 1990 onwards suggests that a structural change in state support for higher education is underway.

– While state spending on higher education increased by $10.5 billion in absolute terms from 1990 to 2010, in relative terms, state funding for higher education declined. Real funding per public full-time equivalent student dropped by 26.1 percent from 1990-1991 to 2009-2010.

– Over the past 20 years there has been a breakdown in the historical funding pattern of recessionary cuts and expansionary rebounds. The length of time for higher education funding to recover following recessions has lengthened for every downturn since 1979 with early evidence suggesting that the recovery from the Great Recession will be no different.

Challenges for Students, Families, and States
– The steady escalation in college prices has occurred alongside stagnant incomes for most American households. Median household income in the United States in 2010 was just 2.1 percent higher than in 1990.
See also:
Simple Math: Cuts to Higher Education Lead to Rise in Student Debt
Source: Viany Orozco, Dēmos, Policy Shop blog, April 19, 2012
Wall Street-Inflated Student Debt Bubble Hits $1 Trillion; Debtors Rally for Relief / The collective weight of American student debt is a drag not just on those paying the debt, but on our entire economy
Source: Sarah Jaffe, Alternet, April 24, 2012
I Went to School for This?
Source: Catherine Ruetschlin, American Prospect, April 25, 2012

Leave a Reply