SHEEO Releases Initial Findings of State Tuition, Fees and Financial Assistance Policies

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Contacts:  John Armstrong, Policy Analyst
Andy Carlson, Principal Policy Analyst

SHEEO Releases Initial Findings of State Tuition, Fees and Financial Assistance Policies

Affordability for students and the level of state support for colleges and universities are the biggest drivers in decisions about tuition and fees at public higher education institutions.  Those were the key findings in an initial report released today by the State Higher Education Executive Officers association.  A more detailed report will follow later this year.

Since 1979, SHEEO has produced periodic reports on state tuition, fee, and financial assistance policies based on surveys of state leaders. The latest iteration of the survey was revised in order to allow for more qualitative analysis of responses and to reflect the focus of policymakers on college affordability.  This initial findings report highlights crucial tuition policy topics, including who is responsible for setting rates, how policy is formalized, how policymakers view tuition policy’s importance, and new affordability strategies that are being considered and implemented by states.

The level of influence of various factors in setting tuition rates is highlighted. New analysis suggests that while affordability concerns are a significant driver of tuition and free policies, ultimately, the amount of money in the state budget is perceived as more important when decision makers determine tuition rates.

The initial findings report recommends that state policymakers consider tuition and fee policy within the broader context of affordability and attainment strategies, consider tuition and fee policies’ impacts on and in conjunction with financial aid programs and be transparent about the expenditures that tuition and fee revenue are covering.

The initial findings report is available here: