Commentary

The assault on higher education continues

In case you missed it earlier today, be sure to check out this new and sobering release from the Justice Center on the sorry state of North Carolina’s investment in higher education:

North Carolina’s spending on higher education cut deeply since 2008
Shortchanging public universities and colleges reduces access to higher education, hurts economy

RALEIGH (May 13, 2015) — Even as most states have begun to restore funding for higher education that was cut during the recession, North Carolina has continued to cut funding for public universities, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  As a result, tuitions have risen dramatically and the quality of education here has suffered, which will make it harder for the state to attract businesses that rely on a well-educated workforce.

“Smart investments in public colleges and universities will help to strengthen North Carolina’s economy,” said Cedric Johnson of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. “Communities with highly educated residents attract employers who pay competitive wages. Their employees then spend money in their community, boosting the economy of the entire area. That’s what North Carolina needs as our economy continues to recover from the damaging Great Recession.”

Nationwide, states are spending 20 percent less per student on higher education than they did in 2008, after adjusting for inflation. With such deep cuts in higher education investment, colleges and universities have had to raise tuition, cut spending, or both. As a result, tuition at four-year public colleges has grown nationally by 29 percent since the 2007-08 school year.

For North Carolina, costly tax cuts in recent years have hindered the state’s ability to invest in what works, such as its well-regarded public university system. State funding for higher education has been cut by more than 20 percent since 2008 when adjusted for inflation, according to the new report. Meanwhile, the average tuition at a public, four-year college increased by 36 percent during this period.

“Too many students are taking on unsustainable levels of debt, and rapidly rising tuition creates a formidable barrier to economic opportunity for many students from low- and middle-income families,” said Johnson. “North Carolina needs to maintain its constitutional commitment to ensure post-secondary education is ‘free as far as practicable’ and that means funding these systems adequately.”

Lower funding also threatens the ability of public universities and community colleges to serve as intellectual centers in their communities, economic development engines and sources of research and development for private sector innovation.Retaining faculty members who are leaders in their fields has become a big challenge as other states successfully lure them away from North Carolina. Universities have reduced course offerings and support services for students to address state funding cuts and funding for need-based aid has not been increased in recent years.

To reverse these disturbing trends, North Carolina needs to recommit to making higher education a priority and reject more unaffordable tax cuts. A large and growing share of jobs will require college-educated workers, and the only way to make sure North Carolina students are prepared and the state’s economy can thrive is to keep higher education affordable and of high quality.

“A thriving economy of the future requires college-educated workers,” said Michael Mitchell, policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and author of the report. “For the sake of its future prosperity, North Carolina should start reinvesting in its colleges and universities now.”

The full report is available online here.

10 Comments


  1. LayintheSmakDown

    May 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    The truth of the matter is the spending being cut is not the problem. The waste and bloated salaries are rampant in the university system. Just look at poverty “expert” Gene Nichol who teaches just one class and makes $200k. And that is just one example at one university.

  2. Alan

    May 13, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Hey LSD, what do I need to do to be formally added (if I’m not there already) to the Civitas Enemy List? I guess anyone who dares to speak out about injustice, poverty, etc. etc., is simply an enemy of the Reich, er, I mean Right. Can I get an arrow all to myself on the Mapping The Left BS?

  3. Pertains!

    May 13, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Laysdownwithsnakes did you even attend college?
    How many people are required to compose all of your copious responses.
    I am starting to view you as a curiosity which merely distracts from the information. Please give it a rest.

  4. LayintheSmakDown

    May 14, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I guess you need to ask them. I would guess you have a good start, but your salary at the NCPW/Justice center preclude you from giving enough money to actually have an effect on anything. Maybe you can get Chris and Rob to give you a raise to minimum wage as a start.

    Pertains here are your answers….yes, two degrees…..One…..and I will not give it a rest, but you do not have to read my comments if you prefer not to…see that is called personal freedom which progressives have no concept of.

  5. Alan

    May 14, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Wow, 2 degrees! That’s impressive, yet you tell us you “work” in retail, that’s interesting.

  6. LayintheSmakDown

    May 16, 2015 at 9:58 am

    I work in RTP, it is a high tech company you probably have heard of. I am a CPA with them. Although I did work at a major NC based home improvement retailer during my unemployment and still do on some weekends, so I am not sure your point there….are you insulting retail jobs? Are you saying that people in retail jobs are below you? A cubicle jockey/hired troll is insulting retail workers? That is rich considering how “compassionate” progressoes are to the “little guy”.

  7. Alan

    May 16, 2015 at 10:33 am

    LSD, you post so may lies and conflicting info it’s hard to keep track of the nonsesne you write (or have written for you). Good try on the “insulting retail jobs”, a rather child like attempt to deflect. Please try harder.

  8. LayintheSmakDown

    May 16, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I don’t think you make much sesne….try harder to make some.
    ..
    So you are insulting “work”?

  9. Alan

    May 16, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    LSD, make an attempt please to stay sober while you post here. Thanks.

  10. LayintheSmakDown

    May 17, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    I am fully sober while commenting, but I am sure to someone in your mental state it is hard to tell someone is making fun of you with your spelling of nonsense as “nonsesne” at 10:33am. That is why my word was mis-spelled.

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