Interesting Reads This Week

International encased meats edition

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I have been enjoying the sights and (most importantly) the tastes of Norway this week. You would think that with all this beauty and tastiness I would be blissed out. But some of the news has me cranky, as you will see below. So, what did I read?

A game sausage (jagdwurst) hotdog with mustard and lingonberry sauce. It was delicious.

Balancing the budget

This week, so many people in higher education circles in the US were abuzz with the new State Higher Education Funding report for 2023 from SHEEO, and I, for one, don’t want to be the odd one out.

In general, the news is good. State funding of higher education is up 3.7% beyond inflation, but two things struck me: the different sources of funding and the big differences between states.

On the sources of funding, I had temporarily forgotten that federal stimulus funding was still a factor. It was small in 2023, down 26.6% from 2022, but it was still there, at 1.3% of higher education funding overall. $1.7 billion is still a significant amount. More striking was the extent to which a small handful of states rely on local funding rather than state tax dollars. Arizona is the state where this is most pronounced, with 41.5% of their non-tuition dollars coming from local funding.

Most of the difference between states is in absolute levels of funding, and the proportion of tuition revenue to state funding. The report points as an example to the difference between Illinois and Alabama. Both are at the upper end of the spectrum in terms of funding levels, but in Illinois 71.7% of total funding came from the state versus 49.1% in Alabama.

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