The shift in higher education funding since the Great Recession
The federal government has had to shoulder more of the country's higher education costs as state investments have declined the past 20 years — and especially after 2008's Great Recession — an analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows.
The state of play: Education funding has experienced a large shift as federal funding programs based on student need surged while state funding for research and public universities withered.
- State schools have deferred more costs to their students as a result.
- Public colleges educate 70% of the country's higher ed students. A third of total revenue from public post-secondary schools is made up from federal and state sources.
By the numbers: Federal spending on major higher education programs totaled nearly $75 billion in 2017, excluding federal student loans, while state investments accounted for about $87 billion.
- Pell Grants, federal aid for students in the lowest income bracket, surged by 96% between 2008 and 2010.
- Federal veterans' education benefits grew by almost 150% between 2008 and 2017.
- General appropriations for state spending dropped by 20% from 2008 to 2013.
Between the lines: The federal government is the largest student lender in the U.S. with $94 billion in loans from 2018 alone.
- Despite the burden students have taken on in the past decade, young adults still say they value a higher education, per the Hechinger Report.