Inflation Causes Decline in Funding for Colleges; More Money Is Going into Higher Education, but Students See Less of It

Article excerpt


ATLANTA -- Despite an increasing flow of dollars to the state's network of 35 colleges and universities, funding for higher education in Georgia has actually declined when adjusted for inflation, according to a recent report.

The 2008 "progress report" on education goals, issued by the Southern Regional Education Board, doesn't include the budget cuts lawmakers will consider in the budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and the coming fiscal year, which begins the next day.

The SREB, an interstate education compact between Georgia and 15 other states, keeps up with the goals as part of its "Challenge to Lead" reports.

According to the report, Georgia's overall funding for four-year colleges -- including state spending, tuition and fees -- increased by $501 million between 2001 and 2007, a boost of 31 percent and an increase of 27 percent for each student. But when inflation is factored in, the funding actually fell by 19 percent, or $2,837.

"Georgia's funding increases for four-year institutions lost ground to enrollment growth and inflation from 2001 to 2007," according to the report.

The same was true in two-year schools, according to the report. In that case, the state's 34 percent increase was offset by 42 percent enrollment growth. When inflation was factored in, funding slumped by 26 percent, or about $2,248. …


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