More on Higher Ed’s Haves and Have-Nots


Writing for PBS News, Ben Markus of the Hechinger Report, highlights the uneven degree to which cuts in state subsidies to public colleges and universities have impacted the institutions that serve the highest numbers of economically disadvantaged, academically at risk, and non-White students. In the first half of the essay, Markus illustrates his broader points by contrasting the size and impact of the state budget cuts on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago State University.

Late in the essay, he makes the following broader points:

Community colleges — which enroll 57 percent of Hispanic and 52 percent of black students, and 41 percent of students whose parents did not themselves go to college, according to the Urban Institute — spent $10,804 per student on education in 2013, the last year for which the figure is available from the Delta Cost Project at the American Institutes for Research, which tracks this. That’s down $531 per student since before the recession, when adjusted for inflation.

Those institutions are being asked to do more, such as provide remedial education, workforce training, and professional certificates to students who often come from low-performing public high schools. Far fewer of those students graduate, moving on to work that pays less than they could have earned if they had, and don’t move up the economic ladder higher education was supposed to help them climb.

In spite of budget cuts, meanwhile, large four-year public universities with faculty that conduct research spent $404 more per student since the start of the recession, or $17,252. Those places are more likely to enroll affluent students who attended higher-quality kindergarten through grade 12 schools and who are already academically well prepared.

Markus’ complete article is available at:

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