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For the fourth year in a row, state spending on higher education is up nationwide.

The annual “Grapevine” survey, conducted by the State Higher Education Executive Officers and the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, shows a 3.4-percent average nationwide increase in spending over the 2016 fiscal year, although that figure could be changed by legislation pending in Illinois.

Hawaii, Idaho, South Dakota, and Virginia posted the largest growth, increasing by around 10 percent compared with their 2016 budgets. Nationwide, 39 states reported increases over the last fiscal year. (Illinois was excluded, pending action by the state legislature, although an increase is expected there.) Ten states reported decreases. Wyoming, Alaska, and Louisiana suffered some of the largest cutbacks, with reductions of almost 7 percent or more.

The nationwide increases in state higher-education spending over the past four years have been moderate. The current streak follows four years of declines, most notably a 7.5-percent drop in 2012.

In the five years since that sharp decline, the numbers are up 16.4 percent over all, according to the survey data.

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