Higher Education

State Disinvestment in Higher Education: Student Debt Issue

Release: February 29, 2024

State funding for Illinois colleges and universities in FY 2024 was still some 39% lower than it was in FY 2000 when adjusting for inflation and this long-term disinvestment in higher education over the last 20 years has had significant consequences. It has forced public universities to increase their tuition and fees, causing the average cost of in-state tuition at Illinois’ public universities to increase 121 percent, substantially higher than the national average in this time period, making college in Illinois considerably less affordable. It has forced virtually all Illinois students to incur student loans in order to pay for college, especially Black and Latinx students, perpetuating an educational attainment gap. This report touches on the widespread issue of student debt and why Illinois needs to prioritize investing adequately in its public higher education system.

Why Illinois Should Enhance its Investment in Higher Education

Release: March 28, 2023

After adjusting for inflation, state funding for Illinois colleges and universities has fallen by nearly 50% since 2000, while tuition has more than doubled, making it increasingly difficult for students from low- and middle-income families generally, and Black and Latinx students specifically, to afford getting a higher education degree. Despite growing evidence that a college degree is more important than ever for success in the labor market and in spite of recent funding increases, the report finds that, after inflation, Illinois’ General Fund support for Higher Education has declined significantly over the last two decades, and is 46 percent less now in real terms than in 2000. To help make up for that loss of General Fund support, the average annual student tuition and fee cost of attending a public four-year university in Illinois increased by 115 percent—after inflation—between 2000 and 2021. This Report both documents the positive impact gaining a college education has on everything from wages, economic development, and community health and wellbeing, to social mobility, and calls upon the Illinois General Assembly to invest adequate resources in higher education.

Illinois’ Continued Disinvestment in Higher Education

Release: November 9, 2021

For two decades, Higher Education in Illinois has been left behind. Despite the evidence and relationship between educational attainment and economic viability, Higher Education in Illinois continues to be divested. CTBA has updated and improved its prior report,  Illinois’ Two-Decade Disinvestment in Higher Education, with Illinois’ Continued Disinvestment in Higher Education. This updated report highlights that General Fund appropriation for Higher Education in Illinois has been less than it was in FY2000. While FY2022 appropriations are more than FY 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the state of Higher Education funding with Illinois still not providing enough to make Higher Education affordable for many students in Illinois. This means that public universities and community colleges must rely more heavily on tuition and fees. In fact, average in-state tuition at an Illinois four-year public university has increased 149 percent from FY 2000 to FY 2020.

In Illinois’ Continued Disinvestment in Higher Education, CTBA shines a new light on everything from economic impacts of General Fund appropriations for Higher Education in Illinois, the reliability of public institutions on tuition and fees, which disproportionately affects low-income students and students of color, and how the growing cost of college has contributed to a decrease in enrollment in our public colleges and universities, only to be made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Illinois’ Two-Decade Disinvestment in Higher Education

Release: October 21, 2019

For two decades, Higher Education in Illinois has been cast aside. Despite the evidence and  relationship between educational attainment and economic viability, Higher Education in Illinois continues to be divested.

Since 2000, General Fund appropriation for Higher Education in Illinois has been less than it was in FY2000. While FY2020 appropriations are more than FY2019, they are still not enough to make Higher Education affordable for many students in Illinois. This means that public universities and community colleges must rely more heavily on tuition and fees. In fact, average in-state tuition at an Illinois four-year public university has increased 136.3 percent from FY2000 to FY2017.

As a result, with General Fund appropriations being less than two decades ago and tuition costs increasing, Higher Education has seen an overall decline in enrollment. This negates Illinois’ plan to create a “well-educated workforce with skills and competencies to compete in the modern economy” as intended by The Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success. Hardest hit by the disinvestment in Higher Education are students in Black and Latino households.

In Illinois’ Two-Decade Disinvestment in Higher Education, CTBA analyzes everything from economic impacts of higher educations, General Fund appropriation impacts on Higher Education in Illinois, the reliability of public institutions on tuition and fees, which disproportionately affects low-income students and students of color, and how the growing cost of college has contributed to a decrease in enrollment in our public colleges and universities. 

Illinois’ Significant Disinvestment in Higher Education

Release: January 27, 2017

Center for Tax and Budget Accountability Releases New Report on the Cost of Disinvestment in Higher Education

CHICAGO – Between 2000 and 2015, Illinois cut nearly $1.4 billion from General Fund appropriations to Higher Education—even before the ongoing budget crisis, which has cost Illinois colleges and universities over a billion addition dollars. That is one finding from Illinois’ Significant Disinvestment in Higher Education, a new report released today by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA).