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JLARC Report – Trends in Higher Education Funding, Enrollment and Student Costs

The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) has released a study on Trends in Higher Education Funding, Enrollment and Student Costs. For details, please read the report. The key findings are listed below.

  • Most spending at public four-year higher education institutions in Virginia and nationally is on activities other than direct instruction. Spending on student housing, dining, and intercollegiate athletics—through auxiliary enterprises— has been the largest driver of spending increases at Virginia institutions.
  • State funding as a percentage of total revenue at institutions in Virginia and nationally has declined. In Virginia, State general funding per student (adjusted for inflation) declined 22 percent between 1991-92 and 2011-12.
  • The price of higher education has increased substantially over the last two decades, though slightly less in Virginia than nationally. In Virginia, tuition and fees plus charges for student housing and dining increased, on average, 150 percent between 1992-93 and 2011-12.
  • Average annual income increased far less than the price of higher education, necessitating a large increase in the percentage of students who borrow and the amount they borrow. The average annual student loan amount in Virginia almost tripled between 1992-93 and 2011-12 to nearly $10,000.
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