Monday, November 20, 2017

Frustration builds over proposed budget cuts at St. Louis Community College - Ashley Jost, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Two dozen speakers brought concerns forward to St. Louis Community College’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening over the sound of a protest five stories below. The board and Chancellor Jeff Pittman hosted a special meeting solely to hear concerns about a proposed budget that calls for cutting as many as 70 full-time faculty members. A proposal draft was sent out to the campus community at the end of October. According to that draft, college leaders anticipate that by budget year 2020, the school system could face a $12.9 million deficit caused in part by declines in state support and enrollment.

Updating Education for the Evolving Job Market: Learning at the Pace of Life and Work - Sophie Wade, Huffington Post

The static, one-off pre-work learning format is being quickly supplanted by new education models such edX’s MicroMasters programs to provide for evolving job and ongoing career development requirements. New access, availability and pricing options greatly improve opportunities for workers to augment knowledge and qualifications to match with existing and future employment specifications.

The bubble is going to burst for colleges and universities, professor says - JARRETT LYONS,

Half of the colleges and universities in the United States are in danger of bankruptcy over the coming decades. Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen said that the number — up to 2,000 schools could be affected over the next 10 to 15 years — is thanks to online education. In Christensen’s most recent book, “The Innovative University,” he and co-author Henry Eyring theorized that online education will dominate the marketplace for higher education and drive more traditional schools into bankruptcy. At the a recent Higher Education Summit, he said "If you're asking whether the providers get disrupted within a decade — I might bet that it takes nine years rather than 10," according to CNBC.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Connecticut Finances Stable But Moody's Warns Of Long-Term Fiscal Challenges - Daniela Altimari, Hartford Courant

A bipartisan state budget adopted last month has helped Connecticut avoid a fiscal cliff, but a new report from Moody’s Investors Service suggests trouble ahead. “Long term, Connecticut will continue to face significant fiscal challenges, including looming budget gaps starting in fiscal 2020 and high fixed costs,’’ Moody’s stated in its weekly credit outlook, published Thursday. “These pressures, in turn, raise the prospect of potential future cuts to local government and higher education funding, as the state seeks to achieve structurally balanced operations. This could create significant credit challenges for local governments and higher education institutions.’’

Altierus to close Everett college, layoff 29 - Herald Business Journal Staff

Altierus Career College plans to close its Everett school and layoff of 29 workers by early January. The school is located at 906 Everett Mall Way. It’s the former Everest College, which was part of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges, Inc. Corinthian Colleges came under fire from the Obama Administration as part of a crackdown on the for-profit college industry. The concern was that the colleges were making misleading promises and graduates from some of these colleges couldn’t find well-paying jobs. Corinthian was slapped with sanctions and lacked the cash to pay for them.

Amand: Pension costs “biggest hurdle” for Northern Kentucky U budget - Sam Rosenstiel, the Northerner

NKU Interim Pres. Gerard St. Amand announced that Kentucky’s current pension system is one of the biggest factors holding back the university’s budget. The level at which NKU currently contributes to state pensions has increased without giving employees any added benefits, Amand said at a Board of Regents meeting Wednesday. “This is something we need to push the legislature and the governor to keep moving on pension reform, because this is the biggest, biggest hurdle to anything that we can do to try to fix our budget situation, and for the state as a whole,” Amand said. NKU currently contributes 49.5 percent of every pensioned employee’s salary dollar to Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS). That adds up to $18.3 million dollars per year, up from $3.3 million in 2008.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Montana colleges could face $44 million cut if special session fails - Gail Schontzler, Bozeman Chronicle

If the Montana Legislature rejects the governor’s budget-balancing plan in next week’s special session, the University System may face, not a best-case scenario of $4.5 million in cuts, but a worst-case scenario — the possible loss of $44 million. That would be “devastating,” Montana State University spokesman Tracy Ellig said Thursday. Instead of focusing on next week’s Board of Regents meeting in Bozeman or even the ’Cat-Griz football game, Ellig said, the eyes of MSU leaders are on Helena and what happens when the Legislature meets Tuesday.

University of Alaska regents will request more cash from Legislature - JAMES BROOKS, Juneau Empire

The leaders of the University of Alaska are expected to ask the Alaska Legislature for a 7.7 percent budget increase this week. The UA Board of Regents begin a two-day meeting at 8 a.m. today in Anchorage. At the meeting, they will set their budget request for Fiscal Year 2019, which starts July 1, 2018. According to documents prepared for the meeting, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen will propose a $341.3 million operating budget. That’s up from $317 million in the current fiscal year. The request is unlikely to be filled by the Legislature: Regents requested an increase ahead of the 2017 Legislative session as well, only to see the university’s budget cut further. Since Fiscal Year 2014, the state’s contribution to the university system has dropped 16 percent, and the university’s costs have risen during the same period. That has led the university to cut programs and leave positions unfilled.

'I can tell you that everything’s on the table': UNK, other campuses brace for budget cuts - RICK RUGGLES, Kearney Nebraska Hub

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska at Kearney, in particular, are girding for bad news in the coming months as the University of Nebraska system seeks to close a hole of well over $50 million resulting from increasing costs and decreasing state money. "I can tell you that everything’s on the table," said Jon Watts, vice chancellor for business and finance at UNK. "I describe this as a historic reduction at our campus." Watts said UNK is dealing with $2 million in across-the-board, one-time cuts through a hiring freeze, savings on travel and equipment purchases, and other savings and freezes. But UNK is in the midst of a $3.4 million permanent reduction, as well, that will affect staffers and faculty. Although it’s too early to say which programs in the NU system will be affected and how many employees might be cut, some administrators anticipate profound changes beyond those identified this fall by NU-wide budget response teams.

Friday, November 17, 2017

University of Montana president to announce “next steps” in budget cuts - MTN News

University of Montana President Sheila Stearns has called a press conference for Thursday to discuss a special committee's conclusions on academic programs and likely budget cuts. Over the past few days, a special committee has been going over all of the university’s programs and forming what’s called an “Academic Program and Administrative Services Prioritization”. That’s basically a list ranking more than 400 different class offerings and programs, rating them from “strong” to “not suitable”. Stearns appointed the panel and gave them less than a week to review the programs list and come up with the ranking.

School of Arts & Sciences addresses budget deficit - EMILY BURKE, Tufts Daily

The budget for the School of Arts & Sciences (A&S) is currently in a deficit, according to the Sept. 27 A&S faculty meeting minutes, which discussed the school’s budget and financial situation. In the minutes, Executive Administrative Dean for Arts & Sciences Scott Sahagian emphasized that the deficit exists for good reason; the university is investing in academic buildings, housing, research and other areas. “At present, our first quarter models are projecting a $7.5M budget deficit in A&S for this fiscal year,” Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences James Glaser told the Daily in an email. “We’re trying to manage our spending and commitments this year to reduce that number to break even.” In the minutes, Glaser said that the university is working on fundraising and other measures to close the deficit.

West Virginia Wesleyan students protest lay-offs - Leah Nestor, Theet

Dozens of West Virginia Wesleyan College students gathered in the administration building Wednesday to protest the layoffs and unrenewed contracts of faculty and staff, demanding transparency about why the cuts were made. On Monday, the college reduced its force by 27 employees. Vice President for Advancement Bob Skinner said issues in the college’s operating budget had been prevalent for some time, and President Joel Thierstein was the first to finally try to resolve them.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

NU officials brace for budget cuts - Andrew Ozaki, KETV

University officials said changes are coming and they will be severe, eliminating programs that impact staff and students. "We're going to have to eliminate some things we do currently, academically," University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Ronnie Green said. State lawmakers decided to trim $50 million out of the university budget last spring. UN-L alone has to cut $17 million by 2019. So far, it has been able to target $11 million in savings though consolidation of services, reduced travel and hiring freezes on it's four campuses. But the other $6 million will require tough choices, according to Green. "By the time you get down to that $6 million, it's all about people," Green said.

WSU should handle its own finances, senator says - FORREST HOLT, Evergreen

WSU will likely have to handle its budget woes without assistance from the state government. Sen. Mark Schoesler, who was the state’s senate majority leader until Tuesday’s elections, said he had not seen any indication from lawmakers or university officials that the state government would intervene to dull the impact of spending cuts. In a late October email, University President Kirk Schulz announced system-wide spending cuts of 2.5 percent in an attempt to reign in WSU’s $30 million deficit. Measures intended to reduce spending have included eliminating the Performing Arts program, allowing five contracts to expire for retention counselors in Multicultural Student Services and requesting colleges keep vacant positions open as long as possible, despite the administration seeking to fill its own open positions. Schulz has said the university should be able to begin restoring its reserve balance after cutting spending by $10 million for three fiscal years in a row.

Why Public Research Universities Are Struggling - Emily Richmond, Education Writers Association

For a growing number of public universities, particularly in the midwest, what was once a push for academic excellence is now more like a battle for survival, as detailed by The Hechinger Report’s Jon Marcus in a new piece for Washington Monthly. What happened? Enrollment drops, funding cuts and shifting public attitudes toward higher education. As a result, key research — the kind that led to inventions from open-heart surgery to the World Wide Web – are at risk. Also endangered are America’s ability to compete internationally for top students in fields like medicine, engineering and computer science.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Good news for UM: Bullock calls for special session - Shaylee Ragar, Montana Kaimin

Now that the governor has recalled legislators to Helena, his proposal has been adjusted from a 10 percent reduction to a 1 percent reduction in MUS funds, according to Kevin McRae, spokesperson for the Commissioner of Higher Education. UM would be looking at about a $500,000 reduction in state allocations for next year if the reduction went through. “We are grateful to the governor for his recommendation that recognizes that students are already paying more for education,” McRae said. UM students saw a tuition raise this fall after the regular legislative session left OCHE with a $20 million hole to fill. This fall’s tuition increase helped cover about three quarters of that deficit.

Rider Sends Layoff Notices To Westminster Faculty, Spurring Union to Take Action - Anne Levin, Town Topics

With the potential sale of Westminster Choir College (WCC) still pending, Rider University sent layoff notices last week to Westminster’s teaching staff informing them that the music school could close if the transaction does not go through. Despite a letter to the University community from Rider president Gregory Dell’Omo stating that the notice was provided only “as part of a larger process intended to secure the future of WCC,” the Rider chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) isn’t buying it. The chapter responded this week with an open letter to Dell’Omo asking that the University “change direction” from a plan to sell Westminster, with which it merged in 1992, to an unnamed, for-profit company that operates K-12 schools in Asia. (See this week’s Mailbox for the full text of the letter.) At a press conference held on the Westminster campus last Thursday, Rider sociology professor and AAUP chief negotiator Jeffrey Halpern said the chapter intends to file a grievance within the next few weeks.

TN Budget Hearings: College Tuition Hikes & A Warranty For Your Education - Chris Bundgaard, Local Memphis

“We have just issued a tuition recommendation of 0 to 3%, which I can assure you it is the envy of the region across the South; to be able to tell our students not only is it going to be 0-3%, its going to be 0-3% again,” says Mike Krause, Tennessee’s Higher Education Executive Director. Then there is word of an education warranty tossed out there by the Board of Regents Chancellor for the state's technical two-year schools. “It’s exactly what it sounds like. If you don't have the skill sets for which we say we have trained you, we will take you back and train you for free,” says Dr. Flora Tydings. The chancellor feels so confident, she hopes to soon give students a warranty card like this. The technical school warranty will also be dependent on the employer saying the student was not trained properly.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

St. Louis Community College Budget Response Team proposes cuts up to 70 full time faculty - Melissa Wilkinson, Montage

An Oct. 28 email sent to faculty by Chancellor Pittman outlined proposals made by the Budget Response Team to counteract the budget shortfall set in place by Gov. Greitens. Among the many suggestions was a proposal to reduce the number of full-time faculty by up to 70 by summer 2019. According to the email, the final number will be calculated through guidelines within the joint resolution of the National Education Association which aligns the number of students enrolled with the number of full-time faculty. This reduction would effectively lower STLCC’s ranking among peer institutions from first (45 students per full-time faculty) to second (54 students per full-time faculty). The Board of Trustees met at the Cosand Center on Oct. 30 to discuss the proposals. The meeting was referred to as a “work session” by the board and didn’t allow for any public input, although many full-time faculty attended the meeting. The official decision will be announced at the Nov. 30 board meeting according to memos handed out at the session.

Stagnant enrollment contributed to decision to eliminate positions at WVWC - WDTV

In an interview with The Exponent, Vice President of Advancement Bob Skinner said that stagnant enrollment contributed to the decision to lay off 15 staff members. Skinner said that the decision was not one the college wanted to make, but that they need to have a staff and faculty equal to the university’s students. Officials said the positions were eliminated based on an analysis of duties, skills, and headcount and related analysis of needs. The report says the contract termination was made in an effort to ensure sustainability in the

UM looks at more potential cuts due to declining enrollment - Sonji Milburn, NBC Montana

Tight budget times mean the University of Montana has to change its spending, and that means deciding what's a priority and what's not. "Budget is one of the driving factors, but also we have a new strategic vision out," said director of communications Paula Short. A university panel added 12 programs to the list for possible consolidation, cuts or elimination. The list includes minors in film studies and Latin American studies, two-year programs in food service management and paralegal studies, a global health certificate and the East Asian studies undergraduate degree.