The nation’s system of public universities, colleges, and training centers has long served as one of the key levers for broadening economic and social mobility. Yet, since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, state governments have decreased their direct investment in these vital public institutions. State budget cuts have devastating real-world effects: Public colleges have increased their reliance on tuition paid by students and families, and in particular, the net price paid by low- and middle-income Americans is highest in the states that cut funding the most. In order to achieve the nation’s goals for a highly educated population and to remain competitive in the global economy, this great retreat in public support for higher education needs to be reversed.
The Center for American Progress will discuss a proposal to revitalize the investment in public colleges and universities through the Public College Quality Compact. A new Center for American Progress report will detail the retreating investment from states and call for new investment from the federal government that, coupled with state reinvestment, would create a more affordable and better-quality system of public colleges. A panel will discuss emerging approaches to state reinvestment in higher education that show promise for ensuring that an affordable college education remains a central tenant of the American dream.
David Bergeron, Vice President for Postsecondary Education Policy, Center for American Progress
Sarah Audelo, Policy Director, Generation Progress
David Baime, Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Research, American Association of Community Colleges
Ted Mitchell, Under Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
Ralph Wilcox, Provost and Executive Vice President, University of South Florida
Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress