Thursday, March 17, 2011

State Subsidy for Education and

Related Expenses - 2008 Data

for 50 Flagship State Universities

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
March 13, 2011

Education Financing for Major Public Universities: Which Ones Get the Most and the Least

The Chronicle chose one large public research institution per state—often the flagship—and examined its subsidy for education and related expenses per student in 2008, the most recent year for which those data have been reported. This figure is the share of educational spending not covered by tuition. For many but not all flagships, state appropriations finance a significant portion of this subsidy... This sortable table also shows the percentage of total revenues from state appropriations, a figure that has declined at many flagship institutions.

Subsidy for education and related expenses per student, 2008

U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $26,373
U. of Washington* $19,575
U. of California at Berkeley $16,165
U. at Buffalo $16,086
U. of Nevada at Reno $14,624
U. of Texas* $14,594
U. of Hawaii—Manoa $14,025
U. of Minnesota—Twin Cities $13,616
U. of Alaska* $13,435
U. of Michigan at Ann Arbor $13,309
U. of Wyoming $13,131
U. of Tennessee* $12,260
U. of Connecticut* $11,818
Ohio State U.* $10,647
U. of Florida $10,587
U. of Utah $9,984
U. of Arkansas main campus* $9,720
U. of Iowa $9,220
U. of North Dakota* $8,707
Rutgers U.* $8,702
U. of Kansas $8,663
U. of Wisconsin at Madison $8,611
U. of Arizona $8,570
U. of Idaho $8,421
U. of Massachusetts* $8,418
U. of Delaware $8,402
Louisiana State U. $8,395
U. of Virginia $8,341
U. of South Dakota $8,146
U. of Kentucky $7,613
U. of Maryland at College Park $7,392
U. of Missouri* $7,246
U. of Nebraska at Lincoln/Omaha* $7,024
U. of Alabama* $6,932
U. of New Mexico/New Mexico State U.* $6,855
U. of Mississippi* $6,757
U. of Oklahoma at Norman $6,657
U. of Vermont $6,148
U. of Illinois* $6,035
Indiana U. at Bloomington $5,953
U. of Maine* $5,823
U. of Georgia $5,235
U. of South Carolina at Columbia $4,368
West Virginia U. $3,912
U. of Montana* $3,842
U. of Oregon $3,792
U. of Rhode Island $3,367
U. of New Hampshire* $2,686
Pennsylvania State U.* $2,373
U. of Colorado at Boulder** $665

The interpretation of this data is unfortunately not straightforward as noted in a later Chronicle piece:

Choice of Measures Influences Data on Support for Flagship Universities

State financial support for public flagship universities looks quite different depending on how it's measured, and that can make it difficult to draw firm conclusions about which institutions receive the most from their states.
Take, for example, the University of Washington. It appeared this week in a Chronicle table as receiving $19,575 per student in "educational appropriations" from the state in 2008, the second-highest total among 50 major public research institutions. That figure—calculated by the Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability—represented the total cost of educational and related activities not covered by tuition revenue. Many public flagships have modest endowments and so rely largely on state appropriations to finance this subsidy for education. (The Chronicle has relabeled this column of figures to accurately describe the figure this way.)
But not at Washington: There, total appropriations per student—$9,797 per student in 2008—represented only about half of its subsidy for education spending. In Washington's case,
 In Washington's case, the remaining portion of the subsidy came from other institutional sources, like investment and gift income. This remainder represents "state" support for education only in the sense that Washington is a public institution. The education subsidy reported for other flagships may include some of this nontax money as well, but it's difficult to tell how much.
 Overall state appropriations per student might seem like a clearer way to directly measure legislative support for flagship institutions, which report those figures to the U.S. Education Department annually. And by this measure, the University of Washington certainly seems less flush than many of its peers—it ranks 28th among the 50 flagships.
However, this measure has drawbacks in that some of the money supports noneducational activities like athletics, student financial aid, and some research costs, and institutions vary in how much they spend in those areas. That's why Jane V. Wellman, executive director of the Delta Project, says it can be misleading to compare universities on this measure. Instead, the Delta Project emphasizes the educational-spending subsidy because education is a core mission of universities and the figure is comparable across institutions—although the subsidy figure is not necessarily financed solely by state appropriations at all flagships.
Put another way - as I have in the past - it is incumbent on the University of Minnesota to explicitly spell out how much is spent for education for one undergraduate at the U and put these facts on the table when negotiating with the legislature about funding.  Identifying the unreimbursed research costs explicitly would also be useful in negotiating. 

See for example my Brainstorm post at the Chronicle of Higher Education:


1 comment:

Frank said...

This is very interesting data. I hope you don't mind that I cross posted it at my blog.