A sunny reenactment of recent trends in American higher education: due to the recession, enrollment rises. Due to the recession, state funding was down. Federal stimulus funds provide momentary rescue! And now: federal funds end. States are still broke. Urgh.

A new report lays out the situation: state spending on higher education is down less than 1% in 2010-2011. Not too bad, right? Sure, until you consider THIS, from Inside Higher Ed:

More than $2.5 billion of the total state spending on higher education came from the federal government in the form of stimulus funds that have now run out. Over two years, state support is down nearly 2 percent — in a period when the same economic downturn that has left state coffers empty has also spurred enrollment increases in much of public higher education, and greater demands for financial aid.

So, soon we will have no federal stimulus funds, broke states, and tons of broke kids flooding into college to try to "wait out," haha, this recession by getting themselves into deep debt while obtaining a degree useful only for admitting them to the lowest possible rung of the oversaturated middle class employment tier (currently out of service, please check back soon).

To activists everywhere demanding an end to tuition increases accompanied by crappier educations at public universities: sorry. Tuition is the main thing keeping those schools afloat now. Either they soak you for more money, or they cram you in ever-larger lecture halls with ever-angrier, more underpaid teachers. You can have semi-affordable colleges. Or you can have semi-decent colleges. But you can't have both.

[Photo: Flickr]