States Investing the Most in Higher Education

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21. Massachusetts
> Annual higher ed. spending per student:
$6,728
> 5-yr. chg.: 7.3% (7th largest increase)
> Total public college enrollment: 170,703 (24th highest)
> Tuition cost per student: $5,028 (12th lowest)

With a statewide median household income of $69,160, roughly $15,500 higher than is typical nationwide, Massachusetts has a relatively strong tax base. A state’s tax climate is one of numerous factors influencing higher education investments, and higher tax revenue by no means guarantees a state will increase financial support for public universities. Still, the broader tax base in Massachusetts may partially explain the rapid increase in spending since the end of recession. The state now spends 7.3% more on higher education than it did five years ago. Meanwhile, nationwide spending is down 2.4% from five years ago.

22. Nevada
> Annual higher ed. spending per student:
$6,682
> 5-yr. chg.: -21.7% (5th largest decrease)
> Total public college enrollment: 66,924 (13th lowest)
> Tuition cost per student: $4,150 (5th lowest)

Most states have increased spending on higher education in the last three years. Nevada, however, is a notable exception. In Nevada, investment in per pupil higher education is 4.9% lower than it was last year, while nationwide, state investment in higher education is up 5.2%. Nevada cut spending far more than most states since 2008. Higher education spending per student declined 34.5% from 2008, just before the worst funding cuts occurred across the nation, more than double the corresponding 15.3% nationwide decline.

23. Maine
> Annual higher ed. spending per student:
$6,546
> 5-yr. chg.: -1.7% (2nd smallest decrease)
> Total public college enrollment: 35,608 (6th lowest)
> Tuition cost per student: $8,728 (7th highest)

Maine spends slightly less per student on higher education than is typical across all states. Partially as a result, the average out-of-pocket tuition cost at a public institution is $8,728 per student, considerably more than the $6,006 nationwide figure. Though higher education tuition is relatively costly for full-time, public school students in Maine, the cost has not increased as dramatically as it has in most states over the last five years. Costs have only increased 5.2% over the last five years, the second smallest increase of any state and considerably less than the 23.1% nationwide spike in out-of-pocket tuition.

24. Florida
> Annual higher ed. spending per student:
$6,271
> 5-yr. chg.: -4.3% (7th smallest decrease)
> Total public college enrollment: 601,292 (3rd highest)
> Tuition cost per student: $3,188 (3rd lowest)

Florida spends $6,271 on higher education per student, slightly less than the $6,966 national average. Despite lower than average state investment, out-of-pocket costs for full-time students are among the lowest in the nation. The typical student at a public college or university in Florida pays $3,188 annually, far less than the $6,006 national tuition cost average.

25. Missouri
> Annual higher ed. spending per student:
$6,102
> 5-yr. chg.: -7.9% (14th smallest decrease)
> Total public college enrollment: 186,936 (20th highest)
> Tuition cost per student: $5,896 (22nd lowest)

States across the country have slashed investment in higher education since the recession. Missouri cut more than average, spending today 18.5% less than it did before the recession compared to a nationwide average 15.3% reduction in higher education appropriations. However, Missouri has ramped up education spending per student over the last year far more rapidly than the average national increase. The state now spends $6,102 per student on higher education, a 13.0% increase over the previous year and more than double the nationwide average increase of 5.2% over last year.