Thursday, January 29, 2015

UW System predicts layoffs, no campus closings under budget cuts - Patrick Marley and Karen Herzog, the Journal Sentine.

Gov. Scott Walker's plan to cut the University of Wisconsin System by $300 million over two years would likely lead to layoffs, but closing campuses is not on the table at this time, top school officials said Tuesday. Declaring the university system needs to get out from "under the thumb" of state government, Walker said he wants to give the Board of Regents more authority to contract for services and construct buildings without following state rules and processes that other state agencies must. His plan, if approved by the Legislature, would be coupled with a reduction in state aid of nearly 13%. He likened the proposal to the budget cuts that were paired with Act 10, the 2011 law that all but eliminated collective bargaining for most public workers.

How will UA cope with state budget cuts? - Craig Smith, KGUN

There could be tight times ahead for UA. Governor Doug Ducey's budget proposal calls for taking 22 million dollars out of a budget that's already had deep cuts in the past few years. All three state universities, UA, ASU and NAU, face a total of 75 million in cuts to help balance the state budget. Universities are facing a ten percent cut so University of Arizona is looking at about a 22 million dollar cut. Because ASU is larger it's looking at a 40 million dollar reduction, and Northern Arizona is facing about a 13 million dollar loss.

Bill would give lawmakers power to set ND college tuition, fees - Mike Nowatzki, InForum

Debate over who should set tuition rates and fees at North Dakota’s 11 public colleges and universities began Wednesday as a committee heard testimony on a bill that would shift power from the State Board of Higher Education to the Legislature. Rep. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, the prime sponsor of House Bill 1303, said the Legislature is often blamed for skyrocketing tuition but has done little to control it in recent years, “other than shoveling ever-increasing piles of money into appropriations for higher education. “We’ve often been told that that would solve it, but it has not,” he testified before the House Education Committee.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

University Offers Budget Reducing Measures - Dan Bross, KUAC

University of Alaska officials have released a summary of proposed budget cuts and efficiency measures in response to a request from Governor Bill Walker in anticipation of reduced state funding. Vice President of University Relations Carla Beam says the university was asked to present plans for addressing 5 and 8 percent state reductions, additional to an already proposed 6 million dollar cut. “Those come out to 24.1 million dollars under 5 percent reduction scenario, and 35 million dollars under an 8 percent scenario.”

College president warns budget problems may force cuts - Associated Press

The president of the community college serving the Albuquerque area says fiscal belt-tightening might have to include cuts of low-enrollment classes. Central New Mexico Community College President Kathie Winograd told employees and staff that she believes proposed increases in state funding are optimistic and that higher education could actually face funding cuts. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Winograd's emailed message asks employees to turn off lights at night and to urge people to take classes at the college because its state funding is based partly on enrollment.

West Virginia Budget Cuts $12M From Higher Education - MICHAEL ERB, the Intelligencer

Higher education in West Virginia will see a nearly $12 million budget drop in 2016 with West Virginia University and the School of Medicine accounting for more than 60 percent of the cuts. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Wednesday announced his proposed fiscal year 2016 budget, which included $72 million in cuts and a withdrawal of nearly $69 million from the state's Rainy Day fund to fill an estimated $195 million funding shortfall.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

State colleges bracing, planning for deep budget cuts - Leigh Guidry, WWL

Louisiana colleges and universities are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst in light of projections of more than $300 million in budget cuts to state higher education. "Cuts of this magnitude — 50 to 60 percent of (University of Louisiana System schools') state funding — go beyond just regular budget cuts," system President Sandra Woodley said. "All of our institutions would be affected negatively and some would have more risk than others." Woodley would not speak to specific schools as details regarding cuts remain unclear. The state's executive budget will not be released until February, but Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has predicted that cuts to higher education will be anywhere from $200 million to $300 million next year.

University announces tuition increases, staff furloughs to ease $15.6M budget cut, Ellie Silverman, University of Maryland Diamondback

State mandated budgets cuts will lead this university to increase tuition for the upcoming spring semester as well as implement furloughs for faculty, staff and administrator positions, according to an email sent to the university community this afternoon. “The state just cut so much money and I want people to know, this isn’t anything [University President Wallace] Loh wanted, this isn’t anything the university wanted, this is the state’s fault,” said Student Government Association President Patrick Ronk. “The state really did this to us.” The state’s Department of Budget and Management announced a $40.3M cut for the University System of Maryland budget, leaving this university with a $15.6M budget cut, according to the email.

Gov. Brown’s budget forces innovation at University of California - Mary Jean Duran,

This Brown budget proposes increased funding of $120 million for the UC system contingent on tuition remaining flat. He is proposing a select advisory committee headed by UC President Napolitano and himself, as the current UC Board of Regents President, to “look at all of the ways to reduce the cost structure… collaborate, use technology to negotiate reforms”. The Regents, meanwhile, voted in November to approve tuition increases of up to 5 percent in each of the next five years—a compounded increase of as much as 27.6 percent.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Arizona Governor Ducey budget plan cut to University of Arizona: $21M - Carol Ann Alaimo, Arizona Daily Star

Ducey's nearly $9.1 billion spending plan also cuts funding to promote tourism and dips into other state funds. Gov. Doug Ducey's budget is proposing a $21 million funding cut next school year for the University of Arizona, the region's largest employer. The UA cut is part of a $75 million package of proposed cuts to the state's public university system. It also includes a $36.8 million reduction for Arizona State University in Tempe; about $13 million less for Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and a cut of about $380,000 to the UA's Health Sciences Center in Tucson. The budget said the cuts were apportioned based on the number of students enrolled at each of the universities.

Alexander warns of LSU budget cuts - Rose Velazquez, Reveille

It was smooth sailing in 2014 for LSU President F. King Alexander, but a storm is on the horizon for 2015. “I think there’s a big question mark, it’s a cloud over our heads right now going into this one that we did not have in 2014,” Alexander said. “We did not have this dark, ominous cloud hanging over us that we’re trying to worry about which direction is it going to go next.” With looming budget cuts, Alexander said 2015 is going to be a different financial year than 2014. With salary increases and the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, Alexander said 2014 was a good budget year for the University. “This coming year with the oil price drop is going to be very tricky, and we have to be very cautious and strategic, because right now we’re looking at about a 40 percent reduction that has been floated out there,” Alexander said.

University of Maine plans no layoffs for budget cuts - NOEL K. GALLAGHER, Portland Press Herald

University of Maine officials said Wednesday that they expect to cut $8.5 million from the school’s $242 million budget the year ending June 2016 without layoffs or eliminating any academic programs. The latest budget proposal would cut $3 million from academic affairs, but it also includes $1 million to hire new faculty in key areas. Other major cuts would include $1.1 million in administration and finance and $450,000 from the president’s office. Despite the deficit, Orono officials noted that enrollment and credit hours are up this year, boosting tuition revenue, particularly from out-of-state students who pay nearly three times the in-state rate and now make up 26 percent of all undergraduate students. Out-of-state students made up 37 percent of last fall’s freshman class, up from 21 percent in 2010.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

When Free Tuition Meets the Next Recession - Matt Reed, Inside Higher Ed

In reflecting some more on the free community college plan that President Obama has announced, I’m concerned about its when the next recession hits. It’s structurally fragile. Community college enrollments tend to be counter-cyclical to the economy. When the economy goes down, enrollments go up, and vice versa. That makes sense, if you think about it. For traditional-age students, parental income is a major factor in choosing a college. When that income is reduced or eliminated, Faraway State University becomes inaccessible, and the local community college suddenly looks pretty good. For adults thinking about coming back to school, the opportunity cost of higher education is lowest when jobs are scarcest. t’s one thing to choose between going back to school and working; it’s another to choose between going back to school and being unemployed.

Illinois College Affordability Program At Risk Following Income Tax Rollback, Report Finds - Progress Illinois

The rollback of the state's temporary income tax hike could mean deep cuts to an Illinois college scholarship program for low-income students, a recent report shows. Over 45,000 eligible Illinois students could be shut out of the state's Monetary Award Program (MAP) if cuts are made to offset the revenue losses associated with the phaseout of the higher income tax rates that began on January 1, according to the analysis by the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children and Women Employed.

'Difficult' state budget expected from Walker - Scott Bauer, Associated Press

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is expected to paint a grim picture when he delivers his plan in a few weeks for balancing the state budget, which would stand in sharp contrast to his upbeat State of the State speech. Walker, in a brief State of the State address on Tuesday that was long on Green Bay Packers references but short on those to the state's troubled finances, is scheduled to release his budget to the Republican-controlled Legislature on Feb. 3.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

UAF chancellor expects budget cuts, up to 250 positions cut - Associated Press

The state’s looming budget crisis because of the decline in oil prices could mean layoffs at the state’s flagship university. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is warning that as many as 250 positions could be cut. Chancellor Brian Rogers told the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that UAF is anticipating cuts of between $20 million to $30 million next year amid signals that state funding will decline between 7 to 10 percent. He says there will be no part of the university that won’t be affected.

Louisiana higher education officials say campus closures are a possibility - Julia O'Donoghue, The Times-Picayune

Public college and university campuses in Louisiana could close if the state ends up cutting $300 million or more out of its higher education budget during the next fiscal cycle. Legislators and higher education officials said Louisiana college systems would have to shut the doors of multiple institutions and campuses if the schools have to absorb a funding reduction of that size. Around 15 locations -- including three in the University of Louisiana system and six in the community and technical college cohort -- could be directly affected.

Poor students hit by California budget row - Sarah Mishkin, Financial Times

More than 200,000 students attend the state-backed University of California, among the US’ largest by enrolment. But the state-subsidised system — which enables many lower income students to attend college without racking up punitive student loans — is under threat, and not just in California. Across the US, tuition fees are rising as colleges feel the pressure of funding cutbacks. But California’s Jerry Brown is leading a high-profile fight against the tuition increases, raising hopes that other states may take a lead from California, seen as a bellwether state.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Donor seeks to offer ‘freshman year for free’ through online college courses - Nick Anderson, Washington Post

A New York philanthropist announced a $1 million donation Wednesday that aims to make that possible through an online venture overseen by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Steven B. Klinsky’s idea is for students to take foundational courses through the online venture edX that would prepare them for College Board examinations in various subjects. Those who pass enough Advanced Placement or College-Level Examination Program tests conceivably would be able to enter college as sophomores. That would cut the price of a bachelor’s degree by a quarter. Klinsky’s vision — “freshman year for free” — echoes in spirit what Obama proposed last week. The president wants Congress to approve $60 billion over the next decade for a partnership with states that would eliminate community college tuition for “responsible students” who get adequate grades and make academic progress.

Outlook on enrollment: Perfect storm of challenges ahead - Dawn Papandrea, University Business

From declining numbers of traditional-age high school graduates and changing student demographics, to the overall concern among consumers about the value of a higher education, anxiety will haunt enrollment administrators moving forward. “Last year was a stressful year for many colleges, and it has just exacerbated because of market conditions,” says John Lawlor, principal and founder of The Lawlor Group, a higher education marketing firm. Many private colleges and universities, for instance, missed enrollment goals.

U of M requests expanded tuition freeze - Don Davis, In Forum

The university -- with campuses in the Twin Cities, Crookston, Morris, Rochester and Duluth -- puts top priority on increasing the number of students who benefit from a tuition freeze, Kaler said Tuesday. Undergraduate students' tuitions have been frozen the last two years, but Kaler suggests expanding the freeze to graduate and medical students. A freeze would save undergraduate students between $2,100 at Crookston to $2,600 in the Twin Cities. Newly eligible students would save varying amounts, up to $7,500 for those in veterinary medicine programs. Without spending $65 million on the freeze, the university predicts tuition would go up 3 percent for undergraduates.