Policy ForumEducation

Funding Roller Coaster for Public Higher Education

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Science  14 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5648, pp. 1157
DOI: 10.1126/science.1091568

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Cyclical fluctuations in state spending on higher education, combined with a persistent decline in the priority attached to higher education in state budgets, have produced serious financial problems at public universities. The results, which include rapid increases in tuition and difficulties in maintaining educational quality, are unlikely to be reversed any time soon. The authors of this Policy Forum urge public universities and state governments to find ways to smooth spending patterns over the cycle and to make sure that people who can least afford to pay are insulated from tuition increases.