Sunday, August 18, 2019

Alaska researchers grapple with university funding cuts - Andrew Grant, Physics Today

This summer University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) glaciologist Regine Hock received an NSF grant of nearly $500 000 to study the effect of surface sediment on the melting rate of glaciers. But rather than recruiting a PhD student or shoring up her plans to sample Kennicott Glacier, Hock is in a holding pattern, waiting to see how 11 regents enact a series of draconian cuts ordered by Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy. “Not knowing what’s happening is extremely demoralizing,” Hock says.

Many Alaskans mount effort to recall governor as huge budget cuts threaten education, Medicaid - Ben Kesslen, NBC

After the cuts were announced, members of Dunleavy’s own party turned against the Republican governor, and Alaskans worried about what would become of their home. A decimated university, some feared, would cause a brain drain. Others wondered how they would afford health care and education, and people grew concerned about how cuts to homeless shelters and addiction treatment might affect their cities. Republicans and Democrats tried to come together and override some of the vetoes, but they ultimately fell short. So, residents like Svarny-Livingston decided to take matters into their own hands by launching a recall effort.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Truth About Student Debt: 7 Facts No One Is Talking About - DIANE HARRIS, Newsweek

To focus solutions effectively, however, policymakers need to pay more attention to the facts than the spin and zero in on where the greatest pain points really are. As it stands now, most of the public debate is still focused on how much students are borrowing and how quickly big-balance loans are growing. But the most serious issues, as the statistics reveal to anyone who looks closely enough, have more to do with repayment, not new borrowing, and with small borrowers rather than large ones. Without that recognition, that aha moment, the "crisis" won't be resolved.

Gerlach: Leaving AAC not an option - RONNIE WOODWARD, The Daily Reflector

In one response to the Cherry Bekaert assessment report on East Carolina University finances and athletics, ECU interim chancellor Dan Gerlach did not mince his words in guaranteeing that the Pirates leaving the American Athletic Conference is not an option. UConn and East Carolina are among the teams nationwide facing athletic budget deficits in the millions of dollars, thus needing other university money for support. The Pirates, who according to the Cherry Bekaert report faced an athletics budget projected annual net deficit of $11.9 million for this fiscal year and an $11.4 million deficit in 2020, received funds to balance their budget and have an approved athletics budget through 2020.

Friday, August 16, 2019

UI likely to face more budget reductions - Justyna Tomtas, Lewiston Tribune

It’s still early in the budget planning process at the University of Idaho, but several increased costs point to the possibility of more cuts in fiscal year 2021. Brian Foisy, UI’s vice president for finance and administration, said the university anticipates an increased cost to employee benefits, or health care related expenses, as well as additional expenses related to student aid programs like scholarships and waivers. While it’s still too early to attach numbers to the higher costs, they could result in cuts elsewhere in the budget.

Unpacking 2U's New $24K Online Undergrad Degree - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Seven reasons why the new 2U powered, University of London, $24K online undergraduate degree in data science and business analytics is so fascinating:
#1 - Status:
The BS will be conferred by the University of London, in collaboration and with faculty from the London School of Economics. These are brand name, internationally recognized institutions. This will be a high-status degree, with substantial value in the marketplace.
#2 - Price:
A price tag of $24K for an undergraduate degree is not all that interesting. There are many options for low-cost degrees from community colleges and other accredited institutions of higher learning. What is interesting is that this is a $24K degree from a high-status institution.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Mexican science suffers under debilitating budget cuts - Giorgia Guglielmi, Nature

Some researchers have turned to crowdfunding campaigns to pay for supplies and several scientific institutes are rationing electricity to save money. Mexico's budget cuts are affecting the country's researchers, including scientists working on improving forest conservation strategies. Austerity measures recently enacted by Mexico’s president are pushing the country’s scientific efforts — chronically underfunded for years — to a breaking point, according to researchers. As part of broader cost-cutting measures aimed at freeing up money for poverty-alleviation programmes, in May, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador cut 30–50% of the money that federally funded institutions — including centres supported by Mexico’s main research funding agency, the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) — spend on travel, petrol, office supplies and salaries for temporary workers.

2U taps undergraduate market with low-cost online bachelor's degree - Hallie Busta, Education Dive

2U announced Monday that it is entering the undergraduate degree market with an online bachelor’s offered in partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). It is expected to launch in October 2020.  The 36-month program in data science and business analytics is on a 10-year contract between 2U and LSE. About three-fourths of the content will be asynchronous and one-fourth will be synchronous, Andrew Hermalyn, 2U's president of university partnerships, told Education Dive. It is priced around $21,000 for United Kingdom-based students and $25,000 for international students. The news comes less than a week after the online program manager told analysts and investors it was shifting its strategy beyond high-priced graduate degrees to include a wider array of program types and price points as well as the use of fee-for-service contracts.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Average Student Loan Debt Statistics by School by State 2019 - LendU

While the figures change each year, the narrative certainly does not; student loan debt continues to be a growing issue in the U.S. and at nearly all schools in the country as the cost of college continues to rise. Nationally, outstanding student loan debt sits at $1.52 trillion, making it the second largest form of consumer debt trailing only mortgages. On an individual scale, the average borrower from the Class of 2018 received their diploma and left campus with $28,565 in student loan debt, up from $28,288 that was owed by the average Class of 2017 borrower.

Heard on Campus: The possibilities presented by open educational resources - Anne C. Osterman, Penn State News

“OER (open educational resources) is about more than student savings — it is about student success and lifelong learning. It is about faculty empowerment and increased student engagement. It is about equity and diversity. … This is an opportunity for collaboration across the institution, from faculty to instructional designers to librarians to assessment professionals.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Director of Alaska college resigns due to state budget cuts - Associated Press

The newly appointed director of Kodiak College has resigned due to budget cuts to Alaska’s public universities.  The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Wednesday that Jessica Paugh informed the college July 31 that she would not fill the post because of the state funding cuts. Paugh was selected in May after a months-long search and was scheduled to begin her appointment Aug. 12. The college is an extension of the University of Alaska Anchorage.

How emerging technology is reshaping higher ed - Natalie Schwartz, Education Dive

Pressure is growing for colleges to improve student outcomes, but sliding enrollment and tighter budgets threaten their ability to do so. In response, they are deploying technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics that promise to help them do more with less. Some colleges are using those tools to improve how they recruit and retain students. Others are using them to bring more accessibility into the classroom or to create personalized learning plans. But effective implementation is key, as the wrong move could negatively impact the student experience and even push learners away. In the five stories below, we examine how colleges are putting such technologies to work and what higher education leaders need to know to implement them effectively.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Illinois Statehouse Insider: It’s a budget miracle - Doug Finke, State Journal Register

Absolutely stunning news from the world of public finance. Illinois has a responsible budget. For the most part. The news came from Fitch Ratings, the third of the big credit rating agencies that pass judgments on public finance. In a report last week, the agency keep the state’s bond rating at just above junk status, but it raised its outlook of the state’s finances from negative to stable. Hoo, hah.  Governor Pritzker wasted no time in trying to determine what the state could do to close that college aid loophole. The nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica reported last week that any number of wealthy families from the Chicago suburbs were exploiting what was described as a loophole in college aid programs to have taxpayer-funded aid programs pay for their kids’ college education.

ISU President Talks Enrollment Decline - KIWA

All three of the Iowa state universities are expecting fewer students this fall. During discussion of next year’s budgets for Iowa State, UNI and the University of Iowa — ISU president Wendy Wintersteen said the enrollment decline is a two-part issue. Fewer students means lower tuition revenue for each school. Iowa State University says student tuition supports seventy-percent of it’s general budget. At the University of Iowa it’s sixty-four-percent from student tuition. UNI reports that student tuition supports only forty-two-percent of the Cedar Falls school’s budget.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Alaska schools to remain in WCHA in 2019-20 - Austin Monteith, Jamestown Sun

The University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Fairbanks men’s hockey teams will take to the ice this fall amid sizable state budget cuts, Western Collegiate Hockey Association President and Men’s League Commissioner Bill Robertson confirmed Saturday. University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen said Friday the schools’ athletic programs “will proceed as planned in 2019-20,” according to the Anchorage Daily News.

The radical transformation of the textbook - BRIAN BARRETT, Wired

Pearson’s digital-first initiative will dramatically bring down textbook costs on average, albeit by phasing out the concept of ownership. But increasingly, colleges are embracing textbooks that cost … nothing. Just as traditional software has a thriving open source community, textbooks have Open Educational Resources, complete textbooks that typically come free of charge digitally, or for a small fee—enough to cover the printing—in hard copy. And while it’s not an entirely new concept, OER has gained momentum in recent years, particularly as support has picked up at an institutional level, rather than on a course by course basis.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

South Carolina State University continues to work to meet enrollment goals for the upcoming school year, officials say. Betty Boatwright, special assistant to the president, told trustees the university was projecting a fall enrollment of around 3,000.  As of July 31, however, fall enrollment was 1,923, which includes 1,710 undergraduates and 213 graduate students.uring the same time last year, there were 2,093 students who had “put in their class schedules and were going through the financial process to be cleared,” she said.

JCC Cuts, Reduces 10 Positions To Meet $1M Budget Shortfall - Jordan Patterson, Post-Journal

Jamestown Community College officials hope recent enrollment initiatives will pay off before the fall semester. In the meantime, 10 positions were cut or reduced two weeks ago to meet the $1 million budget shortfall.

Friday, August 9, 2019

NJ Gov Murphy Pulls $1M From Mahwah College's Budget - Daniel Hubbard, Patch

Ramapo College could permanently lose $1 million as part of Gov. Phil Murphy freezing $235 million in spending this week. The $1 million was part of Murphy freezing $235 million in spending this week, a plan he put in place since he failed to get a millionaire's tax inserted into New Jersey's 2020 budget. Cathy Davey, Ramapo's vice president of institutional advancement, could not be reached for comment. The College of New Jersey would also lose $1 million under Murphy's plan. Another $1 million in aid to independent colleges and universities was frozen and could be permanently cut under Murphy's plan.

Columbia College Chicago's uphill climb - Lynne Marek, Crain's Chicago Business

The South Loop arts and media college will report a $3.7 million annual operating budget deficit next month—the first in recent history for the 129-year-old school. It would have been worse without a faculty buyout program and staff cuts last spring. Columbia's enrollment peaked at 12,000-plus students in 2008 and has been sliding ever since, pulling down tuition revenue. It's shrinking partly by design after the private school ended its practice of accepting all applicants, but it also stumbled in adapting to more competition in higher education.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

University of Alaska fisheries college braces for budget cuts - Laine Welch, National Fisherman

Several hundred of Alaska’s fishery managers are graduates of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, an arm of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. The college offers degree programs in fisheries, marine biology and oceanography. More than half of its nearly 1,000 graduates have come out of the fisheries program and work in the state. “That is a remarkable number. I don’t know any other fishery department in the country that can say half of their graduates still work in their home state,” said Brad Moran, dean of the college, adding that it has seen steady year-over-year increases in enrollment of undergraduates.