Arizona Tops Nation in Higher Ed Funding Cuts & Tuition Increases

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The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities is out with a new report showing that Arizona leads the nation when it comes to the biggest cuts to higher ed on a per-pupil basis and has enacted the biggest percentage increase in tuition since 2008.

And, as the Children's Action Alliance pointed out in a bulletin earlier today, the report doesn't take into account the $99 million in cuts to universities that was approved by the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this year.

CAA notes:

The report cites research showing that higher education attainment is associated with civic engagement, home ownership, business start-ups, and lower crime rates. But Arizona’s investment was already low in 2008 before the recession. By 2015 Arizona state higher education funding per student had dropped to 49th in the country – this low ranking doesn't even count the large additional budget cuts that will go into effect July 1.

One of the trends linked to shrinking investments in higher education in Arizona and other states has been shrinking the tax base with tax cuts and tax credits – and no replacement revenue. Arizona lawmakers have enacted 25 years of consistent tax cuts; these cuts to the revenue side of the ledge have led to cuts on the spending side in all aspects of education – K-12, community colleges, and universities. Arizonans can expect higher education to remain on the chopping block in future years as Governor Ducey has signed into law several additional tax cuts that shrink revenue beginning this year.

You can read the whole report here, but the Arizona highlights show that since 2008, the state has cut higher-ed per-pupil spending by 47 percent and increased tuition by nearly 84 percent.

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