Paying for prisons, not college

While taxpayers spend more and more on prisons, funding for higher education drops

Over the past three decades, two of California’s public services, higher education and corrections, have experienced more change in state funding than any others, while going in opposite directions. According to a new report from California Common Sense, funding for prisons has soared from 2.9 percent of the state budget in 1980 to 9.7 percent in 2011, while funding for higher education has dropped from 15.7 percent in 1980 to 10.3 percent in 2011 (see chart).