decorative banner image

Higher Education Finance Study Finds Increasing Reliance on Student Tuition



Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

St. Paul, MN - State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) today released the results of a study of higher education finance for fiscal year 2011 showing public higher education's increasing reliance on student tuition. The SHEEO report focuses on institutional finance.

As indicated in the report, enrollment in public postsecondary education increased by 2.4% nationwide over the past year, while state support1 per student in constant dollars decreased by nearly 4% and net tuition per student increased by 4.7%.

In Minnesota, public higher education enrollment decreased slightly (less than 1 percent) in 2011, state support decreased by 14% per full-time student in constant dollars, and net tuition2 increased by 12.8% per student in constant dollars, when compared to 2010. As a result, total educational revenue per public student in Minnesota remained about the same between 2010 and 2011.

Information provided for the years 2006-2011 shows state appropriations for public higher education per full-time student in Minnesota decreased by 21%, while spending per full-time student increased between 5 and 6 percent. This gap has been covered by student tuition, which in 2011 comprised 59% of public higher education revenue in Minnesota3. This is an increase of 15 percentage points over 2006, according to SHEEO.

This report, coupled with previous studies on tuition and student debt led to the following observation by Larry Pogemiller, Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education:

"Minnesotans are continuing to invest in higher education in spite of decreased state funding," said Pogemiller. "However, to do so, education has had to rely on tuition revenue with students and families borrowing more.

Finding a way to maintain quality while curtailing student debt is one of the most pressing policy issues facing higher education."

For more information, contact Sandy Connolly at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, 651-2590-3902 or by email at


  1. For the purpose of this study, state appropriations from agriculture, research and medicine are deducted first for comparative purposes. [ back ]
  2. The 12.8% is a statewide comparative figure between the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and does not fully account for state-appropriated financial aid. [ back ]
  3. The national average for net tuition revenue as a percent of total public sector revenue is 43.3%. [ back ]

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view.

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader