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State Context





Economy (GDP by State in millions dollars)  (Bureau of Economic Anaylsis, 2008)

1997: 25,028
2007: 44,517

1997: 1,019,150
2007: 1,812,968

1997: 403,982
2007: 609,570

1997: 8,237,994
2007: 13,743,021










There are many different private and public institutions of higher learning in Alaska. Among them are the University of Alaska and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which is a world leader in the study of the Arctic, Antarctic, fisheries, volcanology, and many other fields.

The majority of the people who hold jobs in Alaska work in service-related industries (36%), but other popular sectors include military and government services (27%), finance, insurance, and real estate (27%), and wholesale/retail trade (17%). The majority of the workforce focuses on mining, farming, fishing, transportation, forestry, and construction.

Residents in Alaska enjoy a strong economy that is focused in the fishing, petroleum, forest and mineral industries. The Alaskan pipeline produces enough revenue for the state that the local government gives each resident an annual stipend.

Students are often impressed with California's educational diversity as well. Enrolling more students than any other state, California holds the most expansive educational system in the nation. With a whopping 144 public and 256 private colleges and universities, not to mention an increasing number of technical and vocational schools, California can satisfy almost any educational goal.

California's population is large, but there are many jobs to go around. Most of the workforce (39%) focuses on the services sector. Other notable sectors include the wholesale or retail trade (19%), military and government services (15%), and manufacturing (12%).

Compared to other states, California is one of the nation's top economies. Industries like agriculture, manufacturing, technology, and entertainment, contribute to California's economy. Because the state is so large, California leads the nation in agricultural production, manufacturing, and construction.

Its population stood at 12.8 million as of the year 2000, nearly two-thirds of which comprised the Chicago metropolitan area. As one of the most densely populated states in the nation, the educational needs of Illinois are great. Perhaps this is why Illinois has 60 public and 115 private colleges and universities, as well as a number of technical and vocational schools.

Most of the jobs in Illinois(36%) are in the service industry. However, there are also plenty of opportunities available in manufacturing (15%), wholesale and retail trade (19%), government and military services (12%), and farming (2%).

Though Illinois was once an agricultural state, the economy has diversified to include manufacturing, services, and finance. Even so, Illinois is still one of the most productive farming states in the nation.


Average Age (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009)

Under 5 yrs old: 7.5%
Under 18 yrs old: 26.7%

Under 5 yrs old: 7.3%
Under 18 yrs old: 25.7%

Under 5 yrs old: 6.9%
Under 18 yrs old: 24.9%

Under 5 yrs old: 6.9%
Under 18 yrs old: 24.5%

Population 1990, 2000, 2008 and Projected 2020, 2030 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009) 

1990: 550,043
2000: 626,932
2008: 686,293
2020: 774,421
2030: 867,674

1990: 29,760,021
2000: 33,871,648
2008: 36,756,666
2020: 42,206,743
2030: 46,444,861

1990: 11,430,602
2000: 12,419,293
2008: 12,901,563
2020: 13,236,720
2030: 13,432,892

1990: 248,709,873
2000: 281,421,906
2008: 306,208,933
2020: 335,804,546
2030: 363,584,435

2007 Median Family Income (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009)





2007 Race and Ethnicity Populations (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009)

White Not Hispanic: 66.1%
Black: 4.1%
American Indian/Alaska Native: 15.2%
Asian: 4.6%
Hispanic/Latino: 5.9%

White Not Hispanic: 42.7%
Black: 6.7%
American Indian/Alaska Native: 1.2%
Asian: 12.4%
Hispanic/Latino: 36.2%

White Non Hispanic: 65%
Black: 15%
American Indian/Alaska Native: 0.3%
Asian: 4.3%
Hispanic/Latino: 14.9%

White, Not Hispanic: 60.0% Black: 12.8%
American Indian/Alaska Native: 1.0%
Asian: 4.4%
Hispanic/Latino: 15.1%

Public/Private higher education system (#'s) 2007-2008: (Measuring Up: The National Report Card on Higher Education, 2009)





Public 4-Year Institutions





Public 2-Year Institutions





Private 4-Year Institutions





Private 2-Year Institutions





Governing/Coordinating bodies (governance)

Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education:
University of Alaska System

Three separate systems accountable to governor
University of California system
California State system
California Community Colleges system

Illinois Board of Higher Education
16 member board--most appointed by governor


Benefits (Measuring Up: The National Report Card on Higher Education, 2009).

2000: B
2002: C+
2004: B
2006: B-

2000: B+
2002: A-
2004: A
2006: A

2000: B-
2002: B-
2004: B-
2006: A


Trends in Enrollment and Finance





Recent/Current enrollment at public 4 year

2000: 24,604
2007: 25,347

2000: 404,743
2007: 510,404

2000: 143,613
2007: 152,095

2000: 4,628,337
2007: 5,622,555

Recent/Current enrollment at public 2 year

2000:    750
2007: 1,081

2000: 1,149,704
2007: 1,421,282 

2000: 344,556
2007: 349,924

2000: 5,296,969
2007: 6,224,871

Recent/Current enrollment at private 4 year

2000:    553
2007: 1,035

2000: 148,283
2007: 203,943

2000: 117,472
2007: 178,236

2000: 2,163,437
2007: 3,043,456

Recent/Current enrollment at private 2 year

2000: 443
2007:    0

2000: 29,877
2007: 36,725

2000: 6,445
2007: 7,788

2000: 244,883
2007: 293,420

Recent/Current finance at Public 4 year

2000: $2,611
2007: $4,507

2000: $2,712
2007: $5,188

2000: $3,702
2007: $9,254

2000: $3,104
2007: $6,137

Recent/Current finance at public 2 year

2000: $1,900
2007: $2,855

2000: $380
2007: $594

2000: $1,348
2007: $24,161

2000: $1,565
2007: $2,321

Recent/Current finance at private 4 year

2000:  $8,716

2000: $13,016
2007: $29,875

2000: $13,233
2007: $23,867

2000: $11,475
2007: $24,449

Recent/Current finance at private 2 year

2000: No information available
2007: No information available

2000: No information available
2007: No information available

2000: No info
2007: No info

2000: No info
2007: No info

State appropriations and budget issues.  Projected surplus or gap as a percent of revenues from 2005-2013. (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009)





State need-based/merit-based aid for students. Ratio of need-based aid from state to need-based aid from Pell grant (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009d)

1998: 3.2%
2003: 0.0% 
2008: 5.7%

1998: 36.7%
2003: 47.9% 
2008: 56.2%

1998: 130.7%
2003: 77.8%
2008: 82.3%

1998: 43.6%
2003: 40.1%
2008: 45.9%

Tax capacity (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009a)

1993: $37,378
2005: $62,366

1993: $27,185
2005: $50,070

1993: $27,523
2005: $48,991

1993: $25,421
2005: $47,249

Tax effort (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009b)

Highly variable
1992: 10.91%
2003: 6.59%

Slight and steady decline
1992: 9.35%
2003: 8.09%

Slight and steady decline
1992: 8.61%
2003: 7.74%

Mostly steady between 8-9% from 1992-2003 with a slight decrease overall

Affordability Issues





Average Loan Amount Students Borrowed in 2007 (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009)





Percent of Family Income needed to pay at Public 4-year institutions  (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009)





a) Share of Income Poorest Families Need to Pay for Tuition at Lowest Priced Colleges 2008
b) Average Family Income in Lowest Income Quintile
c) Tuition at the Lowest Priced College (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009)

a) 23.0%
b) $13,835
c) $3,176

a) 4.6%
b) $12,779
c) $587

a) 19.7%
b) $12,074
c) $2375

a) 18.4%
b) $11,169
c) $2,057

2008 State Grant Aid Targeted to Low-Income Families as
a) % of Federal Pell Grant Aid
b) Federal Pell Grant Total
c) State Need-Based Grant Total (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009)

a) 5.7%
b) $10,797,310
c) $610,746

a) 56.2%
b) $1,406,693,200
c) $790,174,000

a) 82.3%
b) $479,004,572
c) $394,019,800

a) 45.9%
b)$12,136,082,620 c) $5,571,403,151

Per Captia Personal Income 1999 and 2006 (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009)  (H)

1999: $22,660
2006: $38,138

1999: $22,711
2006: $39,626

1999: $23,104
2006: $38,409

1999: $21,587
2006: $36,714


Consolidated Endowment fund for the University of Alaska Foundation: $259,292,685 in 2008 down from $266,543,950 in 2007  
UAA: 4.8 Million
UAF: 8 Million
UAS: 1.2 Million
(University of Alaska Foundation Report, 2008)

UC: $6.4 Billion (Treasurer, 2008)
CSU: $854 Million (CSU: The California State University, 2009)
CCCS: $25 Million (California Community College Scholarship Endowment, n.d.)
Stanford: $17.2 Billion (Officers, 2009)
USC: $3.59 Billion (Officers, 2009)

Top Public Institution
     U of Illinois & Foundation: $1,147,517,000
Top Private Institution
     Northwestern University: $7.6 Billion


State/institutional expenditures per capita on research, total expenditures on research (incl. federal), percentage of total research expenditures represented by state/institutional expenditures (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009f).

1990: $47.0, $119.2, 39.4%
1997: $49.3, $116.5, 42.4%
2002: $49.7, $200.9, 24.7%
2007: $63.3, $234.1, 27.1%

1990: $13.9, $  68.6, 20.3%
1997: $24.1, $  96.9, 24.9%
2002: $37.5, $139.5, 26.9%
2007: $43.2, $184.2, 23.4% 


1990: $17.8, $  57.4, 30.9%
1997: $23.2, $  78.7, 29.5%
2002: $35.7, $114.5, 31.2%
2007: $44.2, $145.3, 30.4% 

1990: $17.3, $  65.3, 26.5%
1997: $24.5, $  90.7, 27.1%
2002: $33.4, $126.2, 26.4%
2007: $42.4, $163.9, 25.9% 

State and local support for higher education operating expenses per capita (NCHEMS Information Center, 2009g)

1992: $294.70
1997: $278.97
2002: $318.17
2007: $420.56

1992: $202.31
1997: $223.99
2002: $328.59
2007: $361.04

1992: $163.95
1997: $193.99
2002: $276.61
2007: $278.27

1992: $164.24
1997: $184.90
2002: $245.47
2007: $277.26

Critical Issues





Outlook for state funding

In 2005, the State dedicated $285,178,000 from the general operating budget to higher education.

The state and local support for FTE is $11,525 after adjusted for cost of living factors. (The national average is $6,773.)

Overrall, State tax payers bear the greatest burden of cost for higher education after Wyoming and New Mexico.)

In addition to the current economic downturn, California is facing a $40+ Billion dollar budget shortfall and the Legislature and Governor are aggressively trying to overcome this deficiency.  The buget in California has not balanced since the 1998-1999 fiscal year (Schwarzenegger, 2009).  In addition to this, property values in California have decreased and revenues from income tax are decreasing with fewer people working.  Thus, despite essentially no spending increases, the state still faces a shortfall.  With higher education accounting for a significant portion of discretionary spending, significant cuts are proposed and look to be implemented in the next couple months.  Education has always been a high priority in California, but has always been a target for cutbacks when things get rough as well. 

Since the late 1990s, the State of Illinois has been starving its institutions of higher education. Budget cuts and flat budgets over the past five years have eroded public university appropriations to less than what they were in 1991 in constant dollars. At the same time, health care and pension costs have been passed on to individual institutions. To combat these moves by the state, public institutions have increased student tuition by double digit percentages most years, but state and federal government financial aid programs have not kept pace. The result is a higher educational system that survives, but which has increasingly become a private commodity that has been priced out of the reach of many of our middle and lower income citizens.

Since FY 2002, college costs have sharply increased in reaction to reductions or effective reductions (increases which fall below CPI) in state appropriations. The cost of attending a public university in the state increased $3,059 or 27% from FY 2002 to FY 2006. Meanwhile, MAP amounts have stagnated. This increase needs to be added to the out of pocket cost required to attend a four year public university.5
Out of pocket costs for students from the lowest income families have more than doubled since FY 2000. For a student from a family in the low middle income range, out of pocket costs have gone up by 1/3 for community college enrollment and by 50% for public university enrollment. With the promise of affordable higher education, the promise of class mobility is being denied to many of these students.


Changes in political leadership

Governor Sarah Palin (elected 2006)

Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected to office upon the recall of the previous governor, Gray Davis.  He finished Davis' term and was reelected in 2006.  He will complete this term in 2011.

Governor Patrick Quinn was promoted from Lt. Governor this past year due to former Governor Blagojevich's removal from office. His removal stems from federal charges from the FBI investigating corruption charges against the former governor in his attempts to profit from his power to appoint a successor of President Barak Obama's vacated US Senate seat.


New initiatives

For the 2008-9 budget year, the university system received a 7-percent increase in funds, only the fourth time in 20 years that the system has won an increase greater than the state's fixed-cost requirement. The university plans to use the extra money to expand programs in high-demand fields, such as health and engineering, and to support research into climate change, energy, and biomedical sciences. The state also provided a fourfold increase in the university's budget for deferred maintenance, which rose to $48-million. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2009)

Prop 1B may become part of the state constitution rather than just a statute as it is in the form of Prop 98 (Legislative Analyst's Office, 2009). This bill is primarily concerned with determining state funding of K-14 schools.  As elementary and secondary education are governed at the state level and not the municipality level in California, and as community colleges in California receive funding from the same sources as elementary and secondary education (state's general fund and property tax revenues), this bill could impact the way that community colleges in California are funded. Originated in 1988 and revised in 1990, Prop 98 establishes three possible ways of funding education in a given year--to be determined on a year-by-year basis by the legislature (percentage, attendance and economy, or attendance and tax revenues). 

There are no new initiatives that will  directly benefit college or universities. Initiatives are coming in the form of providing additional grant aid to directly to the students. As a result of the American REcovery and REinvestment Act of 2009, Illinois students who are eligible for need-based Pell Grants will receive more Pell Grant assistance in academic years 2009-10 and 2010-11. More federal student work study opportunities will also be available. In addition, Illinois families will be able to take advantage of an increase in the Hope Tax Credit and an expansion in the eligible uses of 529 savings plan funds. Federal funds from the education fund will be available to elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, and eligible early childhood education programs and services. Exact funding amounts for public colleges and universities are not known but they are not expected to be of any assistance to most colleges and universities.


Pending legislation

SJR 2 The Education Committee considered SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 2 Urging the United States Congress to establish a federal program to rebuild student access to public higher education in Alaska and elsewhere and to appropriate sufficient funding for that purpose. Signing do pass: Senator Davis, Vice Chair; Senator Stevens. Signing no recommendation: Senator Olson.

House Bill No. 56 (loan repayment for residency for two years) (The Alaska State Legislature, 2009)

House Bill No. 58  (loan repayment to enter particular fields) The Alaska State Legislature, 2009)

BudgetAppropriations: $15,759,900 with $2,654,800 from general budget and $13,105,100 from other sources. (The Alaska State Legislature, 2009)

House Bill No. 172 (this bill will look at how loans are managed and bond purchase agreements to fund loans for students.) (The Alaska State Legislature, 2009)

The Governor and Legislature are currently working on the 2009-2010 fiscal year budget in California.  Governor Schwartzenegger wants to pay off the deficit in 18 months.  The proposals by the Governors office as of 1 January 2009 that apply to education are as follows (The Sacramento Bee, 2009):

$5.2 Billion cut to K-12 spending including Community Colleges

$1.7 Billion in savings by mandatory furlough of state employees two days per month through June 2010 and by eliminating holiday pay for Columbus and Lincoln's Birthday and also by eliminating overtime pay on holidays.  This also includes some layoffs and shifting of health care to less expensive programs.  (Not sure if this will affect college and university employees.)

$692 Million in budget cuts to UC and Cal State systems (this is approximately 10% of the combined operating budget for these systems) and also from doing away with the increase of 7.5% that was planned for these systems in 2009-2010.

$87 Million from altering the Cal Grant program.  No current grants would be eliminated, but the changes would include doing away with grants that are awarded on competitive terms.

There are one pending legislative issue that are related to post-secondary education:
Chief Sponsor: Edward D. Maloney
Tagged in: Appropriation, Commission
Latest Update: Tuesday, April, 14th 2009

ISAC-BONDS GUARANTEED BY STATE Amends the Higher Education Student Assistance Act. Provides that bonds issued in accordance with the Act may be designated by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission as guaranteed by the State of Illinois. Provides that this guarantee shall constitute a general obligation of the State of Illinois, with the full faith, credit, and resources of the State of Illinois irrevocably pledged for the punctual payment of the principal of, interest on, and premium, if any, on any such bond. Provides that these provisions are irrepealable until all such bonds are paid in full as to both principal and interest. Provides that any bonds designated pursuant to these provisions shall be issued by the Commission on or prior to December 31, 2009 and shall be limited in aggregate principal issuance amount to not greater than $50,000,000. Sets forth provisions concerning appropriations for insufficient amounts, a continuing appropriation for insufficient appropriations, the rights and powers of the Commission not being impaired, and allowing a civil action to compel payment. Effective immediately.
The American Diploma Project is a coalition of states that have committed to an ambitious policy agenda designed to better prepare students for successful transitions from high school to postsecondary education and the contemporary workforce. The ADP state network seeks to raise high school standards, strengthen assessments and curriculum, and align expectations with the competencies required for college and career. | Moving away from subsidizing banks to provide loans for student's education. Legislation being drafted to move towards the Direct Loan process by which the government will loan money to the students and not pay interest to other banks who profit from the federal government.


General societal support for higher education (General Support)

Poor support: there is a major concern that many Alaska students are leaving the state for education.

In 2008, 1,881 more students left the state than entered to attend college.

There are also not a lot of resources available to students in high school regarding which courses to enrol in for college preparation. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2008)

Generally good support.

  • The California Master Plan for Education (University of California: Educational Relations, 2005).
  • Students that go to public community colleges do not pay tuition, rather they pay an "enrollment fee" of approximately $20.00 per credit.  Out of state enrollees in the community college system pay tuition at a rate of about an additional $100.00 per credit.
  • California charges "fees" instead of tuition as residents do not pay tuition (The California State University, 2008).

Most voters recognize the value of a higher education to the individual who earns and holds the degree. There is little voter recognition of the value to the community, the state and the nation, however. As a result, there tends to be not much public reaction when politicians imply that those who will benefit the most from a higher education should bear a larger portion of the cost of the education that will allow that individual to generate a higher income than the voters who do not possess a higher education. This conversion of the public good of higher education into a private good attainable only by those with the means to pay for it occurs in degrees, or a little at a time. The deed is done before anyone notices.

Since the real value of higher education is not always easy to identify, easy to understand, or easily convertible to immediate profit, the more short-term our political and public perspective, the less we are willing to support the long term investment in higher education that is needed to assure access to a quality higher education for all citizens who wish to improve their lot. Readers over sixty already know this.


Concerns about tuition and aid programs

Financial Aid support is low in Alaska. For every $1.00 in Pell Grants the state spends $0.06 per student.

Since the late 1990s, the share of family income, even after financial aid, needed to pay for college expenses at community colleges has increased from 10% to 23%.

Undergraduate students borrowed on average $5,427 in 2007, one of the highest averages in the nation.
(National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2008)

California offers its own form of financial aid called CalGrants (, 2008).

In-state tuition for illegal aliens is an issue of ongoing contention--particularly among non-resident students with citizenship (Ramirez, 2009).

California's low tuition model has come under fire by some who state that the low tuition makes it more difficult for student at community colleges to secure aid such as Pell Grants and Cal Grants (Zumeta & Frankle, 2007).

Illinois Public Agenda states that the state "will ensure affordability for students, families, and taxpayers." Among the strategies and specific action steps recommended in the Public Agenda are:

  • Develop a funding strategy that explicitly links state appropriations, tuition, and need-based student financial aid.
  • Review state need-based financial aid - including coordination with federal tax benefits and aid programs and institutional student aid policies - to increase effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Use state funding and regulatory authority to leverage student readiness for college and timely completion of degrees and to encourage operational efficiencies and collaboration among higher education institutions.
  • Use state dollars for "performance" incentives to achieve specific state policy goals.


Special attention to issues related to 2 year public institutions

A fairly low percentage (48%) of first-year students in community colleges return for their second year. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2008)

The Bernard Osher Foundation has given $25 Million to the CCCS to begin a scholarship fund.  This is half of a promised $50 million contribution (Foundation for California Community Colleges, 2009).

A major issue that is being discussed is the heavy burden place on homeowners to fund these local community colleges. There is discussion to raise the state income tax to help alliviate some of this burden off of homeowners.
There has also been a large push at the community college level to increase enrollment numbers and income through high school Dual Credit Programs.


Special attention to issues related to 4 year public institutions

In Alaska, 92% of students are enrolled in public four-year colleges and universities.
However, at four-year colleges and universities, a fairly high percentage (67%) of freshmen return for their sophomore year. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2008)


In a survey conducted by the University of Illinois, the Institute of Government and Public Affairsfound that respondents were more likely to have positive perceptions of their local community colleges than of four-year institutions statewide. Eighteen percent of those surveyed said their local community college was doing an "excellent" job, whereas just 11 percent said the same of four-year colleges and universities.
The survey found that while 72 percent of Illinoisans strongly believe that any qualified student in the state should be able to go to college, only one-third strongly believe that every student who is motivated actually has the opportunity. Only 8 percent of residents said they strongly believe that "college students are getting their money's worth."


Special attention to issues related to 2 year private institutions


With the likely pending cutbacks in Cal Grants and other forms of student aid, private schools will also be hard pressed to navigate these financial waters unscathed.

Due to budget cutbacks, community colleges in the state of Illinois are now trying their hand at more aggressive fundraising by starting alumni associations as well as by developing foundation offices.


Special attention to issues related to 4 year private institutions


With the likely pending cutbacks in Cal Grants and other forms of student aid, private schools will also be hard pressed to navigate these financial waters unscathed.




A very low percentage (22%) of first-time, full-time college students complete a bachelor's degree within six years of entering college, making Alaska the lowest-performing state on this measure.

In 2006, 57% of the students attending college were part-time status with 43% enrolling as full-time students. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2008)

In 2002, the Legislature approved a plan that forged a joint venture between the Cal State system and the UC where Cal State schools will offer a joint EdD. This is an issue that is still under some consternation, though a majority of both the UC's and Cal States have formed agreements to provide this degree. This would require a rewriting of the California Master Plan for Education, but seems to have found a reasonably amicable resolution (University of California: Educational Relations, 2007).

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (Dream) in Congress on March 30, 2009. This legislation would allow immigrant kids, who are currently excluded from access to higher education and the economy, to participate. Currently, many immigrant kids who grew up in the United States, who call America home, and who want nothing more than to contribute to American society, are being denied a fair opportunity to earn their citizenship. The Dream Act is a practical, fair solution that upholds the best of our shared American values of fairness, opportunity, and accountability.



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