Skip to content Menu

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?

Download Brief

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?

Download Brief

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?

Download Brief

Learn More

NACUBO Materials

  • Public College and University Financial Aid Trends. NACUBO Solutions Exchange Resource: This NACUBO resource examines trends in institutional financial aid funding at public colleges and universities across the country.  
  • COVID-19 Research. NACUBO Polls: 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. 
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). HEEF Resource Center. A one-stop collection of NACUBO's many resources designed to aid your institution in complying with Department of Education guidance, grant management, and other components of the HEERF grant program. 

Recommended Materials

  • NCSL Higher Education Responses to COVID-19Resources from the National Conference of State Legislatures for higher education in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.   
  • SHEEO State Higher Education Finance Project. An annual report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association that examines the trends, context, and consequences of state higher education funding decisions.
  • NASBO Fiscal Survey of States. The National Association of State Budget Officers' semi-annual report provides a narrative analysis of the fiscal condition of the states and data summaries of state general fund revenues, expenditures, and balances.

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

Members Only

Image Placeholder

Advertising Sales