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State and local government funding for higher education reached $120.7 billion in FY22, a 4.9% inflation-adjusted increase over FY21, according to the State Higher Education Financing (SHEF) report produced annually by the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).

Meanwhile, there was a 2.5% decrease in total enrollment at public two- and four-year colleges and universities – the second-largest decrease since SHEEO began tracking these statistics in 2002.

The total amount of funding received by public higher education institutions in FY22 consisted primarily of $108.1 billion contributed by state governments (a 7.8% increase) and $12.6 billion distributed by local governments (a 5.3% increase). Federal stimulus funding from COVID-19 and other relief efforts comprised 2.1% of the total support; federal stimulus aid dropped by roughly one-third. College and university endowments, non-appropriated support, and other sources of state revenue made up less than 1% of funding for higher education in most states.

On a per-full-time-equivalent (FTE) student level, total funding reached $10,237, the highest level recorded since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008. While the overall FTE amounts have recovered to 2008 levels, funding in 28 states still has not fully recovered from the 2008 economic downturn.

At the same time, total FTE enrollment dropped to 10.3 million in 2022 from approximately 10.6 million the year prior. The 2.5% decrease in the total student population in 2022 is the second-largest decline since the SHEEO report was first published in 2002 and marks the 11th consecutive year of enrollment losses at public institutions. Enrollment declined in 41 states between 2021 and 2022. Total FTE enrollment at public institutions has fallen by 11.6% since 2011.

The full SHEEO report is available online.


Ken Redd

Senior Director, Research and Policy Analysis


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