Disinvesting in the Future? A Comprehensive Examination of the Effects of State Appropriations for Public Higher Education Disinvesting in the Future? A Comprehensive Examination of the Effects of State Appropriations for Public Higher Education

By Bo Zhao

Over three-quarters of undergraduates attend public colleges and universities in the United States. Given that state appropriations for public higher education decreased by 44 percent per student from 2001-2013, the author of this paper sought to explore the very real effects of declining state appropriations for public higher education—on students and on the institutions themselves.

Existing literature on the effects of state appropriations for public higher education is relatively thin and sometimes inconclusive, typically examining only one or two aspects. The author set out to conduct a more comprehensive inquiry by investigating four areas that state appropriations may affect: tuition and fees, student financial aid, school expenditures, and degree completion. It also examines the effects of state appropriations separately for each of the four types of institutions, including community colleges, which are the largest provider of undergraduate education in the United States.

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