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Public two- and four-year higher education institutions received an average of $8,636 in state and local appropriations per full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment in FY20, according to a new report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO). While in current dollars total funding represents a 2.9 percent increase over the prior year, in real (inflation-adjusted) value, total funding remains 6 percent below 2008’s level.

The report, 2020 State Higher Education Finance (SHEF), also found that total enrollment at public colleges and universities declined for the ninth consecutive year, and net tuition revenue received by these schools fell for the second straight year. These declines occurred due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, as public colleges and universities faced less revenue from both states and students and increased costs due to the switch to emergency online learning.

However, financial aid to students attending these colleges increased. “In 2020, states provided $830 per FTE in public financial aid, an all-time high and a 7% increase over last year,” the report notes.

The 2020 SHEF report is available at no charge on the SHEF website.


Ken Redd

Senior Director, Research and Policy Analysis


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