Across the country, U.S. legislators are collaborating and negotiating regarding the details of their state budgets. This process can have a great impact on higher education, and in order for the public and private institutions can benefit.
State Budgets for Higher Education
State Budgets for Higher Education are now the focus of US Legislators. They are now collaborating, compromising, and negotiating the details of their state budgets. Here are some initial trends that are now being considered by legislators:
Tuition Fee Increase for Public and Private Universities
According to the vice president of government relations at the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, Tom Harnisch, some states in the country are experiencing large or even historic budget surpluses. However, legislators in those places were putting tax cuts ahead of investments in other areas.
Other governments are implementing tuition hikes at their public universities in order to help cover funding. For example, in the state of Wisconsin, almost a $130 million deficit will be experienced by public universities as a result of the governor’s proposal. The state implemented a tuition freeze from 2013 to 2021 and they wanted to continue the freeze since. Now, Republican legislators are proposing an increase in tuition.
That also happened to Nebraska where the governor is proposing a 2% higher funding for the University of Nebraska, and the same thing happened to the state of New York in which Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed a 3% increase at the two-state systems.
Inflation Will Weaken the Value of Those New Funds
Universities are also squeezed by the increasing prices of materials, as inflation drives up building and maintenance expenses and the faculty members demand a salary increase.
Furthermore, there are also states that chose to be contented with the deficits they experienced as a result of disinvestment that a year of increases won’t solve.
Free college programs
Many states in the US are now offering free college programs. In the state of Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey requested $20 million for MassReconnect, a college program for adults which is the same as what has been implemented by the state of Michigan and Tennessee.
Legislators in Maine, New Mexico, and Oregon are also offering Free college programs, but Ryan Morgan, CEO of the nonprofit Campaign for Free College Tuition said, “Historically the reason that free college programs don’t often get passed in odd-numbered years is it’s a good issue, everyone loves it, it’s not incredibly expensive, but it’s not what elected officials campaign on”. The governors want to focus on their marquee issues, like reproductive rights, taxes, and healthcare. However, Morgan said he is hopeful.