State Higher Education Finance

The SHEF Project

Since 2003, SHEEO has annually published the State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) report to broaden understanding and enable analysis of state-level and national funding and enrollment trends over time. Some of the basic questions SHEF seeks to address include: 

  1. What levels of state funding for colleges and universities are necessary to maintain the economic and social well-being of its citizenry and to ensure the United States remains globally competitive?
  2. How do state funding levels and the correlation between state funding and reliance on tuition revenue at public institutions of higher education influence the implementation of state and national completion/attainment goals?
  3. What tuition levels are appropriate given the costs of higher education, its benefits to individuals and to the general public, and the desirability of encouraging participation and improving degree and certificate attainment?
  4. No single report can provide definitive answers to these broad and fundamental questions of public policy, but the SHEF report provides important context and information to help inform such decisions.

More than just a report, SHEF is a core member service for our state executive officers and their staffs. The report has become the go-to resource for tracking funding trends over time and is used by policymakers, researchers, and the media. SHEF also includes a robust dataset for fiscal years 1980–2018 with detailed data on state and local funding, tuition revenue, and enrollment, with interactive data-visualization materials. 

Previous Reports


Additional Information