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Vermont needs to make higher education more affordable

A college degree can be the ticket to more job options and higher pay. And a well-educated workforce is critical to strong communities and a growing economy.

But as a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows, Vermont is one of only three states that has cut per-student public spending on higher education in each of the last two years, even as tuition at public colleges increases. Adjusted for inflation, almost all states—45 of 50—are spending less per student on higher education than they were before the recession in 2008. But while most of those states—38 of them—are gradually increasing spending again, Vermont continues to cut. Since 2008, Vermont has cut spending by more than 16 percent per student—again, after adjusting for inflation—while tuition has risen 25 percent.

As the report notes, tuition increases disproportionately discourage low-income students from enrolling in higher education. While Vermont graduates a higher percentage of high school students than most states, the state lags when it comes to the number of those graduates going on to college. Vermont policy makers could help to close this gap by making its public colleges and universities more affordable.

Posted by Stephanie Yu on May 25, 2016 at 2:47 pm

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