A new report from Demos, a national policy and research organization, examines how various complex economic, political and sociological factors combine to find out how states allocate their advanced schooling funding. The report’s authors look at how these cultural dynamics drive lawmakers to either invest intelligently or foolishly and set the pattern that will influence higher ed funding decisions for many years to come.
David Weerts, the lead author, explains those who look to the report C titled ?College Funding in Context: Understanding the Difference in Higher Education Appropriations across the States C for solutions to the questions plaguing the general public higher education systems in the united states will be disappointed. Rather, the findings ought to be used to define instead of solve the issue C how population age, economics and even tax policies come together to push lawmakers to create either high or low priority on higher education in their states.
?For instance, youthful populations, high taxes, low unemployment and social, ethnic and religious values that place education as a high priority all make states more likely to fund higher education. On the other hand, the report states, anti-tax sentiments, heavy paying for corrections and healthcare and a good reputation for strong private colleges that \”thwart the development of public colleges\” all make states not as likely to spend on advanced schooling.
\”People don\’t realize the number of moving parts you will find to this,\” Weerts said during an interview with?Diverse.
One factor that has outside impact is when much their state economy depends on industry — and even the type of industry plays a role. Having a highly knowledge-based industry in your backyard adding to economic prosperity makes voters more likely to look kindly on a university system that increases the workforce that keeps those businesses productive.
Weerts cites Louisiana, a situation in which higher education dollars typically are hard-won. According to Weerts, the state’s reliance on the oil industry C an area that had previously been open to employees without a college degree C made funding the public university system less of a priority. As a result, the state’s transition to a knowledge-based economy has been substantially slowed.
The situation in Louisiana stands in stark contrast to Minnesota, which the report describes like a \”diverse knowledge-driven economy that increasingly uses highly educated workforce.\” That workforce, the report states, benefits from higher education and makes higher education \”central to the state\’s economy,\” which entails agribusiness, manufacturing of medical devices, food processing and repair industries including finance, insurance and property. \”Furthermore, Minnesota has a rich tradition of civic culture and civically minded business leaders who have historically recognized the advantages of higher education,\” the report states.