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Trending State Issues in Higher Education

Many higher education policy issues are developed or impacted by state lawmakers across the country. NACUBO is tracking many of these legislative trends, how they arise in different states, and how they may ultimately interact with federal lawmaking efforts.


Megan Schneider

Senior Director, Government Affairs


State Trend Policy Briefs

COVID-19 Impacts on State Budgets

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the U.S. economy and particularly on state and local government budgets.

What do these impacts mean for higher education and how can these impacts be alleviated in coming fiscal years?

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Free College Programs

Many state and local governments have created "free college" programs, often referred to as Promise Programs. These programs differ widely across the country in structure, funding source, participant eligibility, and other critical features.

What do some of these programs look like and is there a chance for a federal "free college" program?

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Data Privacy and Protection

As students, lawmakers, and the general public become increasingly concerned with issues of data privacy and data protection, how are states drafting laws to respond?

With many data privacy concerns arising from digital platforms that cross state lines, is there a role for the federal government to play?

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Learn More

NACUBO Materials

  • 2020 Election Results. NACUBO Election Resource: NACUBO has compiled a resource with state-specific results from the November 2020 elections. This resource also contains an action timeline as the federal government undergoes an administration transition in early 2021. 
  • COVID-19 Research. NACUBO Polls, Spring/Summer 2020: NACUBO has conducted member polls on a variety of COVID-19-specific topics. Summaries of these findings and related graphics and data will help colleges and universities compare their own COVID-19 responses with those from schools across the country. 
  • Transcript Withholding. Business Officer Magazine, Jan/Feb 2020: Balancing Student Success with Repayment. An examination of a new California law that prohibits colleges and universities from withholding transcripts for nonpayment.

Recommended Materials

How Does Your State Compare?

Map of education appropriations per FTE, FY 2019


  1. Education appropriations are a measure of state and local support available for public higher education operating expenses, and exclude appropriations for independent institutions, financial aid for students attending independent or out-of-state institutions, research, hospitals, and medical education.
  2. Constant dollars adjusted by the Higher Education Cost Adjustment (HECA).
  3. Adjusted to account for interstate differences using the Enrollment Mix Index (EMI).
  4. Adjusted to account for interstate differences using the Cost of Living Index (COLI). The COLI is not a measure of inflation over time.

Source: State Higher Education Executive Officers Association

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