Measuring Support for Public Higher Ed, State by State

A student group calling themselves the Young Invincibles has graded each of the fifty states on five criteria: tuition costs, spending per student, burden on families, financial aid, and the degree to which higher education is treated as a priority in state budgets. The scores for each category have then been averaged in a weighted manner that takes into account recent trends, and each state has been assigned an overall score. A complete description of the methodology is available at

Here is the “report card” resulting from this study:

State Rankings on HE Investment

The study makes the case that the major cause of escalating student debt has been state divestment in higher education. According to the Young Invincibles, administrative bloat, changes in federal aid to students, extravagant spending on amenities and athletics, and other factors have all undoubtedly exacerbated rising tuition costs and rising student debt, but all of those problems would be more easily addressed if not for the decline in state support for public colleges and universities.

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