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Trends Report Tracks Revenue and Spending in Higher Education

January 27, 2016

The Delta Cost Project recently released Trends in College Spending: 2003-2013. The report, which analyzes financial patterns and trends, is based on publicly available data reported to the Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). 

Highlights include an average education and related spending increase across all public and private sectors, including an increase of 2 to 3 percent from 2012 to 2013 across all public four-year institutions-the largest increase since 2008. Student services spending (e.g., career counseling, academic advising, and student mental health services) was one of the categories in which spending rose most quickly between 2003 and 2013. Private institutions and selective public institutions increased their student-service spending per student by more than 20 percent between 2003 and 2013.

As for appropriations, state and local funding per full-time equivalent student increased by 5 percent at community colleges and 1 percent at public bachelor's colleges from 2012 to 2013. When looking at the trend data, however, it's clear that state and local funding per student, on average, has not fully rebounded from the last recession. Public research universities' funding per student, for instance, was 28 percent lower in 2013 than in 2008 with a revenue decline of $2,900 per student. The complete report is available here.


Lesley McBain
Assistant Director, Research and Policy Analysis