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Another Report Describes Shrinking Amount of State Money for Higher Ed

While increased federal spending for higher education faces an uphill battle in Congress, pressure is mounting from Democrats in Washington, D.C., to raise state appropriations for higher education.

A report released on Thursday by the liberal-leaning group Demos is just the latest to detail the growing cost of tuition at public colleges, along with the shrinking amount of money that state governments provide to those institutions.

Per-student state spending on public higher education shrank nearly 27 percent from 2008 to 2012, the report says. At the same time, average tuition at four-year public universities has risen about 20 percent, it says.

The report was released as part of an event announcing a new campaign, called “Higher Ed Not Debt,” by several labor groups and others to focus attention on the growing amount of student loans, which average more than $29,000. Speakers featured at the event included U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

The link between rising tuition, student debt, and state appropriations has also become a focus of the White House. President Obama’s 2015 budget proposal includes $4-billion over four years to encourage states to maintain their higher-education spending and to adopt performance-based funding models.

The U.S. education secretary, Arne Duncan, has also called on states several times to increase their support for public higher education.

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