College Spending in a Turbulent Decade: Findings From the Delta Cost Project

Donna M. Desrochers and Rita J. Kirshstein

Delta Cost Project logo How hard did the Great Recession of 2007-09 hit nonprofit colleges and universities? Were sharp increases in tuition enough to offset declining per-student public funding during the period 2000-10? A new data brief from the Delta Cost Project at AIR focuses on financial struggles of colleges and universities two years after the onset of the Great Recession. Findings show that among nonprofit colleges and universities, community colleges suffered the greatest financial hardships of the decade. In addition, institutional subsidies reached a decade-long low in 2010 across most types of institutions as students covered a larger portion of educational costs.