Contrary to the conventional wisdom, states had been increasing funding of higher education prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
- From 1980 to 2019, inflation-adjusted state funding has increased by $12 to $48 per student per year.
- An upward trend in state funding exposes the myth of state disinvestment, but belief in this myth remains widespread due to overgeneralizing from unrepresentative data and a failure to correct for inflation.
- From 1980 to 2019, inflation-adjusted tuition revenue increased by $126 to $143 per student per year.
- Inflation-adjusted total educational/instructional revenue increased substantially over time, and 2019 set a new record high of over $15,000 per student.
- Changes in state funding do not explain changes in tuition. State funding has increased over time, and the numbers do not match even when funding is cut. From 2008 to 2019, state funding fell by $259 per student, yet tuition increased by $2,233.