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Simple Math: Cuts to Higher Education Lead to Rise in Student Debt

Viany Orozco

Students attending or planning to attend college know that a postsecondary credential is a minimum requirement for getting a good paying job. But they are frustrated that, while their education also means great dividends for the nation as a whole, they’re increasingly being asked to shoulder a rising and unaffordable share of the costs. 

A new report by Demos, The Great Cost Shift, documents a key reason families are facing rising college costs.  A review of financial aid data since the 1990s reveals an alarming pattern of state disinvestment: While state spending on higher education increased by $10.5 billion in absolute terms from 1990 to 2010, it has failed to keep pace with growing college enrollments and population growth. State funding per public full-time equivalent student dropped by 26.1 percent from 1990 to 2010.