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> defunded higher ed

I am unaware of this. I thought public funding increased over the last decade or so.

State schools contributed less to tuition, pushing the burden on to students and parents. They used the money saved to build more impressive facilities to attract more students, and also raised costs.

Students accepted that they will need huge loans to get an education, and institutions invested in more elaborate amenities (sports arenas, rec facilities, apartment-style dorms, huge athletic budgets) to attract the top students and their loan money.

Not even a little bit.

Alright, looks like my "decade" time period was off. State/local funding for 2-4 year institutions did in fact increase 2% from 2007 to 2017 [1], but that figure is negative after adjusting for 18% cumulative inflation.

It's been rising more recently though.

2012-2017 had a 15% increase (20% per student), with only 7% cumulative inflation.

Either way, "defunded higher ed" is exaggerated.

[1] https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tabl...

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