State Funding Levels for Higher Education Financial Aid

Acquiring higher education was never a cheap endeavor for anyone involved. This reality is especially true now more than ever. Without financial aid, obtaining a college degree proves to be extremely expensive. More and more graduates question whether the degree itself is actually worth the many years of paying off the student debt. Because of this debt, the topic of state funding levels for higher education financial aid is particularly important for anyone involved with college education. In a nutshell, the government does provide limited funds to help relieve some of the financial strain of higher education. However, this financial aid is pretty limited due to the still ongoing economic recovery. In order to be able to receive this funding, you must educate yourself and become very well-informed in the topic.  Today we examine this topic and attempt to answer the question: How do State Funding Levels Rank for Higher Education?

We will provide you with an overview of the currently available state funding levels for higher education financial aid. Since the 2008 economic recession, the states and the federal government lowered their levels of financial assistance considerably for higher education programs. Unfortunately, this scenario often sends students and their parents into a spiral of excessive debt when they turn to public or private student loans with high interest rates. Before we tackle how prospective students can avoid this unpleasant situation, let’s examine the current state funding levels for higher education financial aid.

The following figure reflects a concise list of the state funding levels between the year 2008 and the year 2014; you will notice that, unfortunately, most states still offer financial aid far below the pre-recession levels.

State Funding Levels for Higher Education Financial Aid

As a result of these cuts, and in conjunction with an overall increase of tuition fees across all states, student debt stands at a higher level than ever. An obvious cost shift occurred from the state’s responsibility for education, to the federal government’s, and now to personal finance of prospective students. This cost shift made higher education less accessible to young adults from low income families. It also generated a crisis within the actual educational system itself.

States no longer appear to be able to afford to give much financial aid to students. The costs associated with this financial aid appear to be too high for most state budgets. At least, that is what many policy makers recently stated. Unfortunately, these increases in tuition price and shrinking financial aid are not the end of the story. Apparently, state budgets cannot afford to pay university staff members and fund research programs at the same levels as before the recession. According to recent reports, most national universities don’t employ an adequate amount of personnel. Aside from a few tenured professors that managed to obtain their position pre-economic crisis, most new Professors work in an adjunct position.

This means that most universities hold too few teachers. Many of these professors are overworked and underpaid for what they do. Even with the national cost shift to the students and their families, the higher education system still has yet to receive the funding levels needed to provide quality services. At the current moment, the biggest problem in higher education is the financial pressure placed on students who do not have access to sufficient financial aid. The end result here is that these students end up resorting to taking out high interest loans and becoming heavily indebted.

A few strategies exists which could help circumvent the debt spiral for those of you set on achieving higher education. Many of these strategies stem from state funding. Other than traditional financial aid, scholarships serve as another primary source of funding for higher education. Scholarships are awarded based on previous achievements such as high school grades. The internet is still a very rich source of information regarding scholarships. Don’t neglect your university’s councilor’s office. You can schedule an appointment with a councilor to discuss methods to obtain financial aid. Since they are familiar with the big picture for financial aid given the local laws and general opportunities in your state, they can be a valuable source of information in a way in which the internet cannot.

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