New Statistics on State Taxpayer Support for Public Institutions are Challenged contributor F. King Alexander provided commentary Nov. 26 in “The Reality of State Disinvestment in Public Higher Education” on recent studies that have “produced an avalanche of questionable statistics to the effect that public institutions do not warrant taxpayer support.”  One study by Andrew Gillen of the Texas Public Policy Foundation was challenged in particular: “[The study] disparages reports of degeneration in state funding, maintaining that no real decline has occurred over the previous decades. The report claims that any alleged decrease in public investment in higher education is more perceived than real.” Alexander concluded: “This study inaccurately attempts to let our states off the hook for what the vast majority of higher education finance studies have shown time and time again: that the primary culprit for increases in student cost and indebtedness among our nation’s public higher education students is a decrease in state commitment and investment.”  Ralph Johnson, CEO of the Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE) commented, “The sobering fact is that there are several studies that show a clear decline in state funding, paralleling the rise of student tuition and debt. A continuous and substantial reduction in state fiscal support for higher education will further impact veterinarians and their student debt burden. The federal government should take a more proactive role in prioritizing higher education and support state efforts to help the profession.”  VMAE leads the Veterinary Debt Initiative with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.