Over the past three years, state funding for higher education has changed dramatically in the face of a weak economy. Many states cut their higher education spending, forcing colleges and universities to replace those lost funds with large increases in tuition and fees. Meanwhile, states have quietly spent over $8 billion in federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to fill gaps in state support for higher education. Few have paid attention to how states used these funds – part of the $48.6 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund – leaving a gap in our understanding of what the federal stimulus bill did and did not mean for higher education.
The Federal Education Budget Project, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, has been working to draw attention to the impact these federal funds had on state institutions of higher education. Last year, FEBP released three policy papers on the subject. The first focuses on how state spending for higher education has changed since the implementation of the ARRA, both in dollar terms and as a percent of total state spending. The second examined how states divided their SFSF monies between K-12 and higher education in each year. The third involved in-depth case studies on how eight states and their institutions of higher education used the funds and what will happen once the funds are gone.
On Thursday, March 1st, FEBP will host a panel discussion as a capstone for this research that focuses on public funding for higher education in the post-stimulus world and what this will mean for students.
Nick Johnson, Vice President for State Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will discuss predictions of state tax revenues and what that will mean for state spending. Dr. Paul Lingenfelter, President of State Higher Education Executive Officers, will explore how states are planning to support their institutions of higher education in the absence of any additional federal support. And Dr. Stephen Jordan, President of Metropolitan State College of Denver, will discuss the tactics his institution has used to deal with shrinking state support and how these efforts will continue.
Please join us for what will surely be an important conversation about state spending, tuition increases, and the importance of institutional autonomy and innovation in this time of scarce resources.
Funding Public Higher Education Post-Stimulus
Thursday, March 1
New America Foundation
1899 L St NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
Click here to register for the event. The event will also be live webcast on the event page for viewers outside the Washington area or others who cannot attend in person. No advance registration is necessary to view the webcast.