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State Appropriations Up in '08

January 22, 2008

Total general-fund appropriations for the 2008 fiscal year rose by 7.5 percent from the previous year to $77.5 billion, the highest increase since 1985, according to an annual study conducted by the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University. Fifteen states experienced increases of more than 10 percent in their appropriations for higher education and only one state, Rhode Island, cut spending for the year.

For the current fiscal year, North Dakota reported the largest increase (19.1 percent) in state spending on higher education. Louisiana and Mississippi also appeared at the top of the list; these states will benefit from appropriation increases of 15.8 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively. By region, states in the Southwest reported the most dramatic growth, with appropriations rising 11.1 percent overall. (See the 2008 state-by-state appropriations chart below.)

This upward trend, however, may be short-lived. Many states are now reporting slowdowns in revenue, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures and a separate study by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Detailed data tables are available on the Grapevine Web site. For additional resources on state economics and finance in higher education, visit the NACUBO Research web pages.