A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office reveals a drop in state funding for public universities is making it tougher for students to pay for college.

The GAO indicates the decline in funding may be partly a result of the recession's impact on state budgets. Colleges have received less state funding and are more often relying on tuition revenue.

That may be why revenue for public colleges increased from 17% to 25%, surpassing state funding by fiscal year 2012, according to the report. Average net tuition, which is the estimated tuition after grant aid is deducted, also rose by 19%.

Students and their families are now paying the cost of college as a larger portion of their family budgets, according to the report.

The GAO notes that from fiscal years 2003 through 2012, state funding for all public colleges fell while tuition increased. ??State funding dropped by 12% overall, from $80 billion in 2003 to $71 billion in 2012, while median tuition rose 55% across all public colleges.??

The GAO found that federal support for higher education is primarily targeted at funding student financial aid, more than $136 billion in loans, grants and work-study in fiscal year 2013, rather than at programs involving states.

 

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