Wednesday, May 24, 2017

HBCU supporters on edge after Trump threatens budget - Mary Kay Linge, New York Post

President Trump soured months of sweet talk aimed at African-American voters with a single paragraph that seemed to threaten government money for historically black colleges and universities. It’s all just a misunderstanding, said an official of the United Negro College Fund. The fuss began with a clause of legalese in a signing statement issued with Trump’s approval of the budget appropriations bill. The statement, issued Friday, cited the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program Account — a $20 million fund that helps the schools finance construction projects — as a program that could run afoul of the Constitution.

Missouri budget winners, losers finalized - Crystal Thomas, Joplin Globe

No state assistance will go to the Missouri Scholars and Fine Arts academies. Originally, $250,000 was slated to be shared between the two summer camps that host gifted children at University of Missouri-Columbia and Missouri State University, respectively. Melissa Kerr, the Missouri Fine Arts Academy director, said she is focusing on hosting the 120 kids for its June camp. All of its funding depends on the state, though sometimes Missouri State University pitches in, Kerr said. With funding cuts to colleges, Kerr said the academy can't depend on university for funding. A 6.6 percent cut to all Missouri public colleges, including Missouri Southern State University and Crowder College. The cuts come on top of money the governor withheld from the current fiscal year to balance the budget.

Arizona's budget battle: Who won and who lost - Alia Beard Rau , Yvonne Wingett Sanchez , Mary Jo Pitzl and Ronald J. Hansen, The Republic

Arizona Board of Regents: The regents earned a spot in both categories. While they won by getting the bonding deal, the suggestion of a potential lawsuit by Board of Regents President Eileen Klein if lawmakers denied the universities the $1 billion package nearly derailed the entire measure. Her comments threatened the collapse of the university-bonding deal in the final hours, and, when coupled with Board of Regents Chairman Greg Patterson's earlier clothes-shaming remarks toward GOP Rep. Mark Finchem, could inflict long-term damage on the regents' relationship with conservative Republicans.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Community colleges are a powerful force for Washington’s economy, if legislature funds them - BARBARA ROFKAR, Bellingham Herald

The community and technical college system is asking the Legislature for a $200 million investment in the operating budget for all 34 colleges. The investment would help produce the diverse talent pool needed to fill thousands of jobs and grow Washington’s economy. These investments would ripple throughout Whatcom County’s economy. And, without these funds, WCC will not be able to as effectively serve our community, our students and our local businesses. Equally important, our colleges need to keep buildings and training facilities up-to-date. Today’s budget for maintenance and construction projects at community and technical colleges is 48 percent lower than the recession-era budget.

MSUB gets smallest recommended tuition increase of Montana universities - MATT HOFFMAN, Billings Gazette

After months of speculation on the impact of budget cuts to the Montana University System, Billings has the lowest recommended tuition and fee increase in the state. MUS officials recommended each public university increase tuition and fee costs to help fill an $18.8 million dollar systemwide gap. "We will continue to advocate as strongly as we can for state funding in the future, but it would be irresponsible for us to just assume that state funding will continue to rise at the level it has in Montana," MUS spokesman Kevin McRae said Thursday after a public conference call with regents announcing tuition recommendations. "Tuition revenue is going to be much more important than it has been over the last 10 years."

More and more students need mental health services. But colleges struggle to keep up - Caroline Simon, USA Today

Each tragic event, explosive research report or wave of student activism on a college campus adds to the growing realization among college administrators that mental health is a major concern. But providing adequate resources for mentally ill students is a significant challenge due to lack of funds and because the landscape has changed — colleges aren’t currently equipped to serve a generation of students who are, increasingly, entering college with diagnosed mental illnesses. Interviews with student activists, mental health experts and university administrators reveal that more and more students across the country are expecting their colleges to seriously address mental health — and often, it’s a struggle for universities to meet the demand.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tuition hike proposed for some University of Montana students - KEILA SZPALLER, Missoulian

Tuition and fees for students at the University of Montana would jump 13 percent for resident freshmen and sophomores, but those costs at UM also would be equal to Montana State University, unlike the current setup. And, the total annual cost of tuition and fees in Montana still would be $1,500 less than the regional average, according to the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. The proposal for tuition equalization between the flagship campuses came Thursday from the Commissioner's Office to the Montana Board of Regents. The regents will consider final — and possibly modified — tuition recommendations later this month.

State lawmakers approve budget with nearly 7 percent cut to colleges, universities - Rudi Keller, Columbia Daily Tribune

State appropriations to colleges and universities will be cut almost 7 percent in the coming year but it appears students will be making up only part of the shortfall. State lawmakers on Thursday approved budget bills funding state government in the year beginning July 1. The spending plan for higher education provides slightly more than Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposed in February and funds several initiatives, including $10.8 million for the University of Missouri System that the governor did not recommend. None of the four-year state universities that have approved tuition increases for the fall have gone above the inflation cap set in state law and none are likely to do so, said Paul Wagner, executive director of the Council on Public Higher Education.

CCC students protest layoff of popular teacher Say professor Jeskanen fosters welcoming classroom environment - ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON, Press-Republican

Clinton Community College students gathered outside the school Thursday morning to protest the layoff of a teacher they say makes their collegiate experience better. “Seeing his face, his presence, knowing I have class with him today, it just makes everything easier,” CCC Student Senate President Allison Molborn said of assistant professor Sami Jeskanen, who serves the college’s History, Political Science, Economics and Geography Department. “It definitely made coming to this school worth it.” Molborn was among about 15 students standing in front of the main entrance to the Moore Administration Building as the event got underway.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tuition at Erie Community College to increase by 3.5 percent - Jay Tokasz, Buffalo News

Tuition at Erie County Community College will increase to $4,900 in 2017-18 -- 3.5 percent more than the current tuition of $4,733. Trustees voted unanimously Thursday morning to approve a $110.8 million budget that includes a tuition hike for the seventh straight year. Tuition has grown by 43 percent since 2010, which is the last time that ECC students did not see a year-to-year tuition hike. "I don't think any of us take lightly the idea of increasing tuition," said Stephen Boyd, a trustee. "But we live in a world that we don't control the birth rates, and therefore we can only do so much with respect to controlling enrollment, which has so much much to do with our budget."

Cuts, deferred maintenance to help NIU shore up budget Cuts, deferred maintenance to help NIU shore up budget - DREW ZIMMERMAN, Daily Chronicle

Cuts and deferred maintenance at Northern Illinois University will be necessary to keep reserves adequate, President Doug Baker said. Without a state budget, Baker has said the university is facing a projected $35 million funding gap, and must prepare for a worst-case scenario until the next fiscal year – lack of funding and no Monetary Award Program grants, which about 5,000 students rely on. Baker said in an email April 28 that to offset lack of funding, spending reductions must be made – including cuts. He added that attrition will not be enough to support the burden of personnel costs, and some staff members have been notified about how their employment may be affected, while others will hear about the status of their jobs this month. Baker said other keys to closing the gap will be increased support from donors and other revenue generators.

University of Nebraska caught in budget slugfest - JOANNE YOUNG Lincoln Journal Star

Debate on the 2017-19 budget continued last Thursday morning, and the University of Nebraska got caught in the fight about more cuts. Part of the discord surrounding whether to cut spending in the $8.9 billion budget was whether to make up part of a $55 million revenue decline by lowering of the minimum reserve from 3 percent to 2.5 percent. That would represent $42 million. Stinner told them the committee made nearly $10.8 million in additional cuts. But that left about $39 million to make up. Some dissenting senators want cuts to the budget instead.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wright State University Credit Rating Downgraded - APRIL LAISSLE, WYSO

Amid an ongoing budget crisis, Wright State University’s credit ranking has been downgraded. Moody’s Investors Services dropped the school’s rating from A2 to Baa2, signifying a “negative outlook.” The organization says the downgrade was prompted by Wright State’s deteriorating financial situation and significant operating deficits. The new rating could affect Wright State’s ability to secure loans for large projects, such as new construction.

Big changes loom for Delgado Community College, with faculty, program cuts likely - CHAD CALDER, New Orleans Advocate

After several years of shrinking student enrollment and relentless state budget cuts, Delgado Community College said Wednesday it is eliminating some academic programs. A school spokesman would not discuss any specific cuts Wednesday after emails began circulating about which programs are getting axed. The school's newspaper, The Dolphin, reported earlier this week that Delgado is terminating its television production and mass communication programs.

Budget Shortfall May Cause Cutbacks For Humanities Departments - Jennifer Cooper, SB Independent

A crowd of students gathered around the SAC during campus lifetime on Wednesday, May 3. Strawberry fest was in full swing laughing with their virgin strawberry margaritas. Others held up signs in protest of the recent decision of the University to defund the Theater department due to budget issues. In addition to the Theater Arts program at Stony Brook University, Dean Sacha Kopp recently sent an email to departments stating the $1.5 million budget shortfall will affect many smaller humanities departments.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Recession Realities Blog Listed on Top 75 Higher Ed Blogs!

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University Of Wyoming Prepares For Layoffs - TENNESSEE WATSON, Wyoming Public Media

The University of Wyoming is on the verge of its first round of layoffs due to state funding reductions. This comes after the Wyoming State Legislature voted to cut the university’s biennial budget by $41 million last year. The first round of budget reductions eliminated close to 300 positions, but according to Chad Baldwin, Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing, those were not layoffs. He said the university has so far accomplished reductions by not filling vacated positions and by offering early retirement incentives. “We’re implementing a $10 million cut for that period,” said Baldwin. “And unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to accomplish the workforce reductions we need to without doing some layoffs.”

MSU Budget Recommendations Include 8 Layoffs, Reductions for Online Instructors - SCOTT HARVEY, KSMU

Missouri State University has identified how it will fill the remaining $4 million gap in its Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The figure includes $2.8 million from non-academic and provost’s areas, and $1.2 million from the academic colleges. The recommendations, which come from the Executive Budget Committee, including cutting eight occupied staff positions, and eliminating another 27 vacant faculty and staff positions. The committee also calls for reducing the online course incentive payments for instructors from $55 to $40 per student.

Faculty leaders brace for staff reductions as budget impasse nears two years - BILL LUKITSCH, LUKE NOZICKA AND ANNA SPOERRE, Daily Egyptian

As Illinois universities face uncertain levels of state funding, some professors have elected to leave for employment elsewhere. “More and more people are considering [leaving] and it’s definitely a rational thing to do,” said Dave Johnson, president of the Faculty Association. “I don’t think you can blame someone.” The number of faculty has dropped proportional to enrollment, Johnson said, predicting there will be fewer than 500 faculty come fall. But, he said, there are still many good faculty staying, and though there might be fewer opportunities, students can still get a good education at SIU. SIU President Randy Dunn in March announced the Carbondale campus would have to cut $30 million from its operating budget. Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell responded with a message to the campus community, saying $10 million of those cuts would come from unfilled positions and would likely result in layoffs.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Budget cuts continue to plague the university - Zia Kelly, MU Maneater

Within a month of being sworn in earlier this year, Gov. Eric Greitens released two budgets that each made major cuts to state higher education funding. This came as MU was already losing money as freshman enrollment continued to drop. With state funding and enrollment both on the decline, it’s clear MU will be in a disappointingly bad spot when it comes to money. The first budget, a mid-fiscal year round of cuts in January, withheld $19.82 million from MU, leaving the university scrambling with four months left in the semester. In the second wave of cuts, MU campus leaders will be required to cut an additional $20 million from the university’s budget as part of the total $57 million in proposed cuts that the UM System will need to make during the 2018 fiscal year. The amount of money the system may need to cut within the next semester would equal the total budgets of the MU School of Business, School of Law and College of Engineering combined, according to a news release from UM System President Mun Choi.

University of Winnipeg cuts wrestling, baseball teams in effort to balance budget - Katie Dangerfield, Global News

The University of Winnipeg has cut $3.7 million in costs, including scrapping the school’s wresting and baseball teams. On Monday evening, the University of Winnipeg said it was eliminating senior positions, faculty positions and sports programs in order to balance the 2017-18 operating budget. The school will be getting rid of Wesmen men’s baseball team, along with the men’s and women’s wrestling teams. Men’s soccer will be put on pause for the 2017-18 season, as the coach position is vacant and the school cannot afford to replace that position for the upcoming fiscal year.