Federal stimulus funds under the ARRA did not protect state student financial aid, further eroding higher education affordability.

cross-posted from the London School of Economics

Today greater effort is required for families to send a student to college in the U.S. than ever before. College is both more expensive and a larger burden for the average American family today than at any point in the previous four decades. In 1984, at public four-year colleges and universities, average tuition (the instructional price charged to students) was 5.5 percent of median family income and the average cost of attendance  was16.4 percent of median family income. By 2011 these had increased to 15.4 percent and 33.5 percent, respectively. Between 1982-83 and 2012-13, tuition and fees at public four-year institutionsincreased by 357 percent.  Institutions of higher education are also becoming more reliant on tuition dollars, compared to federal funding. In 1987, total educational revenues were $11,085 per full time equivalent (FTE) student, with tuition accounting for approximately 23 percent of the total. In 2012, total educational revenues were also $11,085, but tuition revenues accounted for approximately 47 percent of the total.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together: ECI’s Very Partisan ‘Bi-Partisan’ Policy Advisory Board

Educational Choice Illinois (ECI) is “a 501c3 public charity, dedicated to advancing public policy that expands quality educational options for Illinois children in need” that recently released an announcement celebrating the creation of its “bipartisanPolicy Advisory Board.  Their board, 31 members in total, is tasked with “[assisting] ECI in setting its policy agenda” in addition to meeting with community leaders, legislators, participating in outreach, etc.

What is especially interesting about the Board is its composition.  While ECI reports that the Board is “bipartisan,” it is clear that those who sit on the Board are far from bipartisan when it comes to educational policy.  Of the 31 members, at least 23 work for organizations/think-tanks that are overtly in favor of pro-privatization education reforms (e.g., charter schools, vouchers, etc.), and none are known skeptics.  Of the other 8 members, their history or current position on reform cannot be readily ascertained.  Though, as a lobbyist, Vince Williams – who is among the 8 – is likely to advocate for the majority opinion of the Advisory Board – which, in this case, is predominately comprised of pro-privatization ideologues.  Thus, given the history of pro-privatization activities from the members of this Board, one must ask if it was their disposition — as opposed to, say, expertise on the issue — that was ultimately the litmus test for their participation.

Unlocking the Interlocking Relationship Between International Student Enrollment in Public Universities and Declining State Appropriations Operations Revenue

“The interlocking relationship between public institutions, tuition and fee policies, and state appropriations is an area that seems to be pervasively misunderstood by taxpayers and policymakers” (Alexander, 2011).