Across the country, governors are outlining their budget plans for fiscal year 2018. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities predicts how the proposals will affect higher education.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) proposed a higher education funding increase of $10 million for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. If the legislature approves Hutchinson's plan, it would mark the first higher education funding increase in Arkansas in 20 years. He has proposed keeping funding flat for the fiscal year beginning next July.
Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has proposed a budget increase that would boost general funds to higher education by 3.1%, or $27 million. The plan also aims to keep tuition increases steady, around 6%.
Gov. Rick Scott (R) has called for increased higher education funding, although his budget for the next fiscal year has not been announced. He has also called on university leaders to take more actions to cut costs at their institutions.
After a budget impasse that lasted for nearly a year, Illinois currently faces a $9 billion statewide deficit that has already led to significant cuts at colleges and universities.
State funding for higher education has yet to bounce back from the recession
State officials estimate the state budget falls short by nearly $313 million, and this has already resulted in cuts to higher education. For example, the state legislature cut $87.8 million from its merit-based scholarship program, the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS).
Drops in oil and natural gas prices have had a ripple effect, leading to a 5% cut to higher education funding in the state. Further reductions are anticipated.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has told the state's public institutions to expect a 7.5% cut in state funding for the next fiscal year as Virginia aims to close a $1.48 billion shortfall. However, he is calling on colleges and universities to cut costs without significantly increasing tuition and fees.
The state has slashed higher education funding in an effort to contend with previous budget deficits. Higher education leaders are bracing for another budget shortfall between $600 million and $800 million.
Wyoming is working to fill a nearly $157 million statewide budget gap with money from the state's rainy day fund. This year, the University of Wyoming has cut more than 100 staff and faculty positions. More cuts are expected for the coming year.
(AASCU Policy, 11/7).
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