Former Senator and current Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum believes that the federal government should provide less money for colleges. He was campaigning in Iowa earlier this week, speaking at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

According to an article by Zachary Pound in the Daily Iowan:

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Wednesday that the federal government should reduce higher-education funding and leave that support to states.

Speaking to Kirkwood Community College officials and eastern Iowa business leaders on the Kirkwood campus on the fourth day of a tour around the state, the GOP presidential-nomination hopeful said colleges ought to partner with local businesses to prep grads for the workforce.

Right, because that state support for higher education has been working out so well lately.

In fact, total state support for higher education across the nation for 2009-10 declined by 1.1 percent from the prior year and 1.7 percent from the year before that. Last year public universities in 11 states, including California, Michigan, and Ohio suffered more than 5 percent declines in state support.

One would think this was something Santorum, a Penn State graduate, would understand. Over a 30 year period Pennsylvania’s appropriations for the state university system deteriorated by 22 percent as a proportion of the system’s total budget.

“Partnering with local businesses” did not make up for the deficit. When Santorum graduated from the university in 1980 tuition was about $700 a year ($1,827 in today’s money). Annual in-state tuition at Penn State is now $14,412.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer