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In FY17, students’ tuition and fee payments accounted for more than 50 percent of total public college and university funding in 28 states (net of state funding for student financial aid), according to the most recent State of Higher Education Finance (SHEF) report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO).

This is the first time in the history of the SHEF series that a majority of states reported using tuition and fee dollars to account for more than half of their public higher education funds. The FY17 results occurred despite a 2.1 percent increase in total state higher education appropriations. Total state appropriations, however, remain $1,000 below their full-time student equivalent value reported in FY08. Total net tuition revenue, in contrast, is up nearly $1,800 on a per-student basis over the past decade.   

Overall, net tuition revenue accounted for 46.4 percent of total state higher education funds. Thirty-three states were above this national average, with four states (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Vermont) at 70 percent or higher. 

While net tuition revenue has risen, state funding for student financial aid reached an all-time high of $673, on average, per full-time student in FY17. Financial aid programs now account for approximately 9 percent of state higher education expenditures, compared with 4 percent in FY00. 

The full SHEF report is available from SHEEO.



Ken Redd

Senior Director, Research and Policy Analysis


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