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Thursday, March 7, 2013

College Students Paying More As Public Funding Drops

Students from around California marched to the Capitol calling for more funding for higher education in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, March 4, 2013. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Students from around California marched to the Capitol calling for more funding for higher education in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, March 4, 2013. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

More and more students are finding full-time college education out of reach as per-student state and local funding for higher education falls to a 25-year low, according to a new report.

State and local funding for public colleges and universities dropped by 7 percent last year, and the per-student funding dropped 9 percent – the lowest level in 25 years, according to the Colorado-based State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO).

SHEEO head Paul Lingenfelter blames last year’s drop in enrollment on higher tuition and enrollment caps due to budget cuts.

“Students are paying more, while public institutions are receiving substantially less money to educate them. These one-year decreases in funding and increases in student costs are unprecedented over my 40-year career in higher education,” he said.

Study authors warn that the cuts are a long-term threat to U.S. economic competitiveness, because they come just as other countries are rapidly improving the quality of their post-secondary education.

Public colleges and universities enroll 70 percent of all post-secondary students in the U.S.

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