State Fiscal Constraints and Higher Education Spending

Brief

State Fiscal Constraints and Higher Education Spending

The Role of Medicaid and the Business Cycle

Abstract

State governments have historically taken the lead in financing higher education. Over the past twenty years, however, state support for higher education has gradually waned, with the share of higher education expenditures subsidized by state appropriations declining. In this paper, we use state-level data on expenditures since 1977 to study the forces underlying the shift in state financing. More specifically, we examine interactions between state appropriations for higher education, other state budget items (especially Medicaid), and the business cycle.

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