A misconception I wish could be corrected: most Americans don’t realize state funding for education has declined.
Most Americans believe state spending for public universities and colleges has, in fact, increased or at least held steady over the last 10 years, according to a new survey by American Public Media.
They’re wrong. States have collectively scaled back their annual higher education funding by $9 billion during that time, when adjusted for inflation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, or CBPP, reports.
That’s right, we’re not rolling in the cash, Scrooge-McDuck-style, out here in the ivory tower. In fact, we’ve been whittling off bits of the tower and taking them down to the pawn shop to try and make ends meet. The painful decline in state support has been a major driver behind all the bad news that people hear about higher ed: the rising tuition costs, greater student debt, and and the increasing reliance on piece-work by adjuncts. State legislatures have felt secure in hacking apart allotments for education for years because they know their know-nothing electorate (especially in Republican districts) will approve, and because they know we’ll tighten our belts and keep working as hard as we can to keep the whole enterprise afloat.