Does Increased Spending on Higher Education lead to Better State University Rankings?

Does Increased Spending on Higher Education lead to Better State University Rankings?

I thought you would find the rankings of state higher education spending and state university rankings useful.  Intuitively one would believe that states that spend more would have better ranked universities. Higher State spending does not mean it is a Best State for Education.  Lower State spending does not mean it is a Worst State for Education.  A closer look is warranted.

Utah spends the most of its state budget on higher education at 15.5%.  Its University of Utah is ranked 126 according to U.S. News 2009 College Ratings. New York spends the least of all states on higher education with only 5.4%  of its budget yet its highest rated public school SUNY-Binghamton is ranked higher than Utah at 80.   North Dakota is a close second in spending at 15.4% and its university’s state ranking in education is Tier III.  Tier III means it is ranked in the 50-75% of all national universities i.e. below average.  7 of the 10 lowest spending states on higher education have higher university rankings than high spending North Dakota.  North Dakota does not get much bang for its buck.

High Spending States on Higher Education and University Rankings


North Carolina is third highest ranked state on higher education spending at 14.2% and has the highest rated public university of the high spending states with a rank of 28.  This appears to be a positive spend to school rank association.  Yet neighboring Georgia with a spend of 7.6% has its Georgia Institute of Technology rated 35.   Georgia Institute of Technology is higher than every high spend state ranking other than North Carolina.

Alaska is the second lowest higher education spending ranked state at 6.1% and appears to get what it pays for. Its school is rated a bottom 25% Tier IV by U.S. News.   Florida is the third lowest state in spend at 6.3% and appears to get very good returns with the University of Florida rated 47, higher than every high spend state other than North Carolina.

States with the lowest spending on higher education
are primarily in the Northeast.  7 of the lowest 10 states are from the Northeast.  They are, in addition to New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Maine.  Yet 4 of the states, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have higher ranked schools than every high spend state other than North Carolina.

Low Spending States on Higher Education and University Rankings

Source: Tax Foundation

and US News and World Reports

We have reported previously on education spending and test results.  See Does Spending More on Education Work?

and Graduation Rates, SAT Scores and Educational Spending

A simple thesis that more spending on education leads to better results continues to be elusive.  Be wary of political leaders who say that they are managing your education system better by spending more money.  Check the results.

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