Education – The Public Good Index

Date: 26 Feb 2018 | posted in: From the Desk of David Morris, The Public Good | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Pell grants, awarded solely on need, are the largest single source of non-loan assistance to postsecondary education. Two thirds of Pell recipients enroll in public colleges and universities.


Fraction of tuition, fee, room and board expenses in public four-year colleges covered by Pell Grants in 1975: 79 percent.

In 2017: 29 percent.


Fraction of public college revenues supplied by state governments in 1975: 75 percent.

In 2012: 23 percent.


Change in inflation-adjusted state funding per public college student between 1990 and 2009: -26 percent.

Change in inflation adjusted tuition between 1990 and 2009: +116 percent


Fraction of students from the wealthiest 25 percent of households graduating within 10 years of finishing high school: 60 percent.

Of students from the 25 percent poorest households: 15 percent.

Source: The Growing College-Degree Wealth Gap, The Atlantic, 2016.


A student from a family in the top 25 percent of income with standardized test scores in the lowest 25 percent was as likely to be enrolled in college as a student from a family in the lowest 25 percent of income earners with scores in the top 25 percent.

Sources: Lawrence E. Gladieux “Low-Income Student and the Affordability of Higher Education”, 2004.

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David Morris

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and currently ILSR's distinguished fellow. His five non-fiction books range from an analysis of Chilean development to the future of electric power to the transformation of cities and neighborhoods.  For 14 years he was a regular columnist for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. His essays on public policy have appeared in the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington PostSalonAlternetCommon Dreams, and the Huffington Post.