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State vs. Student: Who Spends More on Public Higher Education


The cost of public higher education is increasingly being shouldered by students, rather than state governments. Data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education illustrates the significance of that shift beginning in the year 2000, when 93 percent of states paid more than students for public higher education, in comparison with 2012, when the number of states carrying more of the cost had dropped to 52 percent.

(Photo Credit: Steven Depolo/Flickr)

On average in 2012, states paid $5,906 in educational costs per student and students paid $5,189 each. According to the data, the state with the biggest difference between what students pay versus what the state pays is in Vermont, where the average cost to students is $13,899, with the state contributing only $2,925 per student.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Will students eventually bear the costs for public higher education in all 50 states? It’s possible, and it could happen by 2024, if the trend continues. What would a shift like that mean, in terms of the value students are getting in return for the higher amounts of money they’re spending on public higher education?

It’s possible to determine the value of public higher education in your state right now, whether or not you’re paying more than your state. Payscale’s 2014 College ROI report ranks best public schools based on total cost and alumni earnings. The report compares public higher education schools nationally, but is also searchable by individual states, which allows you to see how your state’s public institutions compare across the board and within your own state.

Tell Us What You Think

Who pays more for your education, you or your state? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Tavia Tindall
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