Tuesday, December 3, 2013

State Appropriations for Higher Education

It's a common refrain: State funding for higher education is being cut.  Is it? And if so, by how much?

Below are three views of the data: On the first dashboard, you see two line charts: The top shows changes in state and local appropriations for higher education over time; on the bottom you see percentage change from 2000--2010.  Not that these are nominal (non-inflation adjusted) dollars.  If you want to compare to inflation, you should know that CPI rose about 27% between 2000 and 2010.

These are also not adjusted for enrollment; it's possible, of course, to show a large increase that does not cover increasing enrollments, and this is likely especially true for states with population growth in the south and southwest.

And this data is subject to the anchoring fallacy: There is nothing magic about choosing the year 2000 to start. There is no way to tell if the amount in 2000 was too high, too low, or just right.  It's just based on available data; if we started in 2005, the changes and the slopes of the lines would be different.

Select the map tab to see the percentage change by state over time.  Blue shows increases at or above CPI; orange shows increases below CPI, and gray values are somewhere near CPI over the time.