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Most States Increase Funding for Higher Ed.; Figures Still Lag 2008 Totals

After years of pulling back on higher education funding, 30 states increased their investment in public colleges and universities last year, a new report out Monday reveals.

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and The College Board found that states spent $81.6 billion on higher education in fiscal year 2013, up from $81.1 billion the previous year. 

These new figures are good news for high school students as they plan their college careers, since significant drops in state support for higher education have been driving increases in tuition in recent years.

In 2010, 2011, and 2012, the per-student state and local support were the lowest they've been in the last 25 years. While inching up, however, funding has not totally rebounded. State funding per full-time student at public college and universities was $6,105 in 2013, still a good deal lower than the average amount appropriated in 2008: $7,924. 

Also, the recovery is uneven. This year's report shows wide variation in funding, with 20 states decreasing their funding for campuses.

The future prospects are encouraging. The Grapevine report released in January indicated an average increase of 5.7 percent in state budgets for higher education in fiscal 2014.

After years of steady increases in tuition and fees, the College Board recently found that price hikes at college and universities have slowed dramatically, with a 2.9 percent increase in the cost at in-state, public four-year institutions last year compared to 2012.

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