State budget cuts brought about by the Great Recession have hammered funding for higher education, and as a whole, state governments will spend 10.8 percent less on higher education this year than they did in the fiscal year prior to the recession, according to data from the Grapevine Project at Illinois State University.
Overall, only 12 states now fund higher education at levels higher than they did in 2008, while 38 states, led by Arizona (36.6 percent less) send less funding to their colleges and universities than they did before the recession, as this chart from The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann illustrates:
Twenty-four of the states have cut at least 10 percent of their higher education budgets, and Alabama, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Arizona have all cut funding by at least 25 percent since 2008. Only North Dakota (35.4 percent) and Wyoming (32.3 percent) have increased funding by more than 25 percent.
Those cuts have led to an increase in tuition costs that had already been steadily rising for decades, which has in turn increased indebtedness among college students. And as ThinkProgress has noted, the ever-growing burden of student loan debt along with a rising inability to repay it has had consequences throughout the American economy.