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The value of funding higher education

For All Spring 2021 | April 14, 2021

The value of funding higher education

For many, college offers an avenue to economic opportunity. However, who can attend and what their outcomes are during and after college are shaped by how, and how much, higher education is funded. Two-year community colleges, which educate millions of Americans, rely on state governments for much of their funding. But when state budgets are stressed, as may result from the pandemic’s downturn, funding cuts follow. Research presented by Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute affiliate Rajashri Chakrabarti at the Institute’s spring 2020 conference on higher education shows that increasing state funding of two-year colleges improves students’ educational and economic outcomes. Inequities in higher education are not the only barrier to an inclusive economy, but more funding would have meaningful benefits for those served by community colleges, including many students of color and students from lower-income groups.

If state funding for 2-year public colleges increases by $1,000 per student

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$354

Decrease in tuition per year

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20%

Increase in number of students who go on to obtain a B.A.

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19-41%

Decline in student loan delinquencies

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13 point

Increase in credit score


5.5 million Americans enrolled at 2-year public colleges in fall 2018

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