This issue of WICHE Insights, Tuition and Fees, Appropriations, and Financial Aid in the West: Aligning Fiscal Resources to Aid COVID-19 Recovery Efforts discusses the most recent results of WICHE’s annual survey, Tuition and Fees in the West, as well as the recent trends in state appropriations and state financial aid. In addition, the Insights highlights the role of federal relief aid to higher education of the past year. Lastly, the brief highlights the importance of aligned appropriations, tuition, and financial aid as states address COVID-19 recovery and reengagement priorities, situating these trends in a discussion of affordability efforts in the West. Key takeaways from the Insights include:
- Regional average tuition and fees for resident undergraduates at public four-year institutions were $9,890 in 2020-21, an increase of 1.2 percent from 2019-20.
- Regional average in-district tuition and fees at public two-year institutions increased 0.7 percent from 2019-20 to $4,051 in 2020-21.
- State financial aid per student was slightly lower than the national average in 2018-19, but the share of need-based aid was well above the national average.
- Overall in the region, state support for higher education decreased 6.3 percent between FY 2020 and FY 2021, although when taking into the account the $649 million in federal COVID-19 relief spending, the decrease over the past year was 4.0 percent.
- COVID-19 recovery and reengagement efforts should be addressed through strategic alignment of appropriations, tuition, and financial aid.