The start of a new school year is punctuated by what's become a new financial norm for public universities: massive cuts in state funding that lead to rising tuition, cuts in enrollment, sporadic class schedules and staff layoffs.
Despite some recent tuition freezes for the 2013-14 school year, public universities continue to suffer from significant spending cuts by their own states. The state funding cuts are the primary driver of tuition inflation in recent years, education experts say.
Between 2007 and 2012, 15 states have experienced declines in higher-education funding per full-time student of nearly 30% or more, according to a report on higher-education financing put out by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association earlier this year. Since the recession, 48 states have cut state appropriations while just two have increased funding.