Oregon Near the Bottom of State-By-State Ranking of Higher Ed Investments

The good news: Oregon is moving up in the state-by-state ranking of public support for higher education.?The bad news? The state now ranks 46th.??

The annual analysis by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association's shows that Oregon, despite a modest uptick after several years of disinvestment, still ranks in the bottom five states when measured as the public contribution per full time student.? The state's less-than-admirable position is a result of a long-term trend of shrinking public investment in higher education. The study was released this week.

According to the newest figures, public colleges nationwide rely on tuition dollars nearly a third more than they did before the recession.? In the five years preceding the economic decline, tuition accounted for a significantly smaller share of public higher education revenues, hovering around 36 percent. The downturn sparked a spike in enrollment, a decrease in appropriations as states slashed spending and an increase in tuition rates, all of which led public institutions to rely on tuition dollars more now than ever before. The study shows that net tuition accounted for about 24.5 percent of the full cost of higher education nationally in 1989, and that the percentage had grown to 47.1 percent in 2014.??

Forty three states saw net enrollment gains in the past five years, with a national average increase of 3.9 percent.? Oregon, according to state-by-state breakdowns, saw the third-highest jump, with an enrollment gain of 16.9 percent.?? The average national appropriation per full-time student was $6,552. Oregon's figure of $4,214 made it fifth-lowest nationally. Only New Hampshire ($2,360), Vermont ($2,816), Colorado ($3,022) and Pennsylvania ($36,54) committed less in public funds per student FTE.?