Public Financing of Higher Education

February 1, 1966

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Research Publication No. 4

Foreword
The post-World War II wave of births is just now flooding our colleges and universities. Recent estimates indicate the most rapid annual percentage increases in higher education enrollments will occur in the years 1965-66 and 1966-67. After 1967, a slight decline is expected in the absolute as well as the percentage increase in enrollments. Nevertheless, total fall enrollments will grow from about 5.5 million in 1965 to nearly 9 million in 1974.

Most of the state studies have concentrated on projecting future needs and the problems of administration and organization. The present study concentrates, from a nation-wide point of view, on the problems of public, or governmental, financing of higher education. What is likely to b the order of magnitude of the tax burden for higher education in the next five years? What choices are available in the scale of public support? Which forms of public assistance to, or financing of, students and institutions are the most appropriate? What are the significant considerations in the decisions that must be made in this area of public finance?

The study examines these questions in the light of the many reports now available on education problems in individual states as well as the growing literature on the economics of education.

George A. Bishop, Director of Federal Affairs Research, was primarily responsible for the research and drafting of this study. This study benefited greatly from the advice and comments of Professor C. Lowell Harriss, Economic Consultant to the Tax Foundation.


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