The more a college depends on tuition to operate from day to day, the more financially precarious it is.

Well it turns out that today’s colleges are increasingly likely to depend on tuition. According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office earlier this week:

For fiscal years 1999 through 2009, both public and private nonprofit schools increasingly relied on tuition revenues when compared with other sources of revenue. …Increased reliance on tuition revenue is partly a result of significant decreases in state and local appropriations and other revenue sources, such as endowment income. Analysis of Education data shows nearly all types of public and private nonprofit schools saw decreases in state and local appropriations ranging from 6 to 65 percent, as well as decreases in other revenues, ranging from 13 to 75 percent. In response to these declines, schools that GAO visited pursued additional revenue from out-of-state and, in some cases, international students, government funded research, and fund-raising.

Between 1999 and 2009 net tuition and fees increased from 12 to to 22 percent of total revenue at public colleges and universities, and from 29 to 40 percent at private institutions.

Daniel Luzer

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