Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation released new research focusing on state revenue trends in higher education, revealing an unprecedented level of growth over the last 40 years. From 1980-2020, colleges and universities have benefited from a growth in state investment into higher education, culminating into a total educational revenue of over $15,000 per student per year. Despite the myth that the state has disinvested from universities, causing universities to suffer, the data tells a different picture. As TPPF’s research shows, colleges and universities that are incredibly well funded, thanks in part to increases in state funding. 

The conventional wisdom holds that higher education has been suffering from cuts to state funding, but the data show that states have increased state funding per student over time,” said Andrew Gillensenior policy analyst for TPPF’s Next Generation Texas initiative. “Despite the myth that the state has disinvested from universities, the opposite is true, and that state funding has led to remarkably well-resourced colleges and universities.”  

Key Points

  • From 1980 to 2020, inflation-adjusted state funding has increased by $16 to $52 per student per year. These increases indicate that “state disinvestment” is a myth.
  • State funding has completely recovered from the cuts made during the Great Recession.
  • From 1980 to 2020, inflation-adjusted tuition revenue increased by $127 to $143 per student per year.
  • Inflation-adjusted total educational/instructional revenue increased substantially over time, and 2020 set a record high of $15,276 per student.
  • Changes in state funding do not explain changes in tuition.

View the entire paper here.