Friday, October 28, 2016

UMD announces layoffs to reduce budget deficit - Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune

Nearly 40 employees — all having non-tenured faculty positions — will be laid off by the University of Minnesota Duluth to help cut $2 million in expenses. It was done without eliminating any academic offerings, UMD officials said. UMD announced to its campus Friday another piece of its budget reduction puzzle, the piece intended to pare the area of academics. The decisions made leave the remaining annual shortfall at $1.3 million, down from more than $9 million. The university, in order to deal with less tuition dollars from several years of declining enrollment and less state aid, has been in methodical reduction mode.

Wright State to eliminate 23 positions - Max Filby, Dayton Daily News

Wright State University is eliminating the positions of 23 employees, including six faculty members, as it continues to grapple with a budget crisis that has the board reviewing a number of options, including privatizing parking. “I recognize that the uncertainty created by the university efforts to reorganize is real and impacts people’s lives,” President David Hopkins told faculty and staff in an email Thursday. Wright State officials have been looking for solutions as its unrestricted reserve fund has dropped from more than $100 million in 2012 to $12.9 million as of June 30.

Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne Shutters Programs - Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne is suspending or eliminating a number of academic programs as part of an academic prioritization process, a state agency’s recommendation that the institution become a Purdue-only campus and an attempt to close a several-million-dollar budget gap, caused in part by declining enrollment, The News-Sentinel reported. Degree programs in French, geology, German, philosophy and women’s studies are suspended, effectively immediately. Eight additional majors within existing departments, six teaching programs and four graduate programs have been shut down. The university is planning a teach-out program for currently enrolled students. Tenured faculty members in affected programs will be reassigned to different departments. The future of the campus’s nursing, dental education and medical imaging programs is still under discussion.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Credit-rating agency lowers outlook for Suffolk University - Laura Krantz, Boston Globe

Declining enrollment and management turnover at Suffolk University have prompted a national credit rating agency to lower its outlook for the downtown college, in a sign that the recent turmoil could have serious financial impact. S&P Global, one of the three national agencies, did not lower the school’s long-term BBB bond rating, but revised its outlook from stable to negative. The move signals that the rating agency is more likely to downgrade the rating in the future.

UW hopes to avoid layoffs, recommends fee increases in 2017 - Joel Funk, Laramie Boomerang

Costs to students could increase and jobs could potentially be at risk at the University of Wyoming in its second year of budget cuts. Continued low energy prices driving down government revenue resulted in a drop in state block grant funding to the tune of almost $41 million through the last year. In addition to the $19.3 million in reductions already implemented in the current fiscal year — carrying through the biennium and beyond — the new plan would result in approximately $10 million more in permanent reductions.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

UNM regents will consider $450K budget cut - Chris Quintana, ABQ Journal

To reduce costs, the University of New Mexico’s Board of Regents will consider an administrative shuffle that would cut three high-level vacant positions as well as reduce the pay of three administrators. The expected savings would total about $450,000, according to a report presented to a regents committee earlier this week. The three pay cuts and all but one eliminated position are on the Health Sciences Center side, though the proposal also calls for some shuffling of main campus positions.

WVU's $45 million spending reduction by 2020 could impact Tech - Bill Frye, Register-Herald

How the call by West Virginia University President Gordon Gee for the school to reduce its spending by $45 million by 2020 will affect WVU Tech is uncertain, say officials from the latter's Beckley campus. In his State of the University speech earlier this week, Gee noted that "decades of declining state support have culminated in recent years with $30 million dollars in reductions to our base budget." In addition, he reported, an enrollment loss last year took its toll and operating costs have increased. But still, Gee said the university would look to curtail tuition increases. "Continued increases in tuition would reduce our competitiveness and erode our accessibility to West Virginia families," he said.

‘Honey, Who’s Going to Pay for College?’ - Kim Clark, Money

Ask parents about their biggest financial worries, and the vast majority — more than 70% — will cite college costs, according to Gallup surveys. But a shocking number of parents shield their children from the reality of high college costs. Millions of teens are walking around with the mistaken impression that their parents will fully fund whatever college they choose, a T. Rowe Price survey found. A frank conversation in advance can clarify and simplify your family’s experience of applying and paying for college — and prevent financial or emotional crises.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

UNM athletics looks for financial solutions - Geoff Grammer, Albuquerque Journal

The University of New Mexico athletics department, fresh off reporting a $1.54 million deficit for fiscal year 2016 and with ominous early returns on the current fiscal year’s finances, could ask for an increase in student fees to maintain their current level of spending, according to a memo to a Board of Regents committee. The memo, outlining a discussion scheduled to take place at Tuesday’s Board of Regents’ finance and facilities committee meeting, opens “with the poor FY16 financial performance still fresh in everyone’s mind,” which was the seventh time in the past nine years athletics has finished in the red. It later states that if ticket sales don’t pick up, and “if in fact the elimination of sports programs is off the table,” then increasing revenue from student fees “will need to be thoroughly evaluated.”

Change will cut millions in benefits to future UW retirees - Greg Fladager, Casper Tribune

A little-noticed change in the University of Wyoming’s retirement plan will cut millions in employee health insurance benefits for future retirees. The action affected a provision that allowed staff to bank unused sick days, which could then be applied toward payment of state health insurance premiums at retirement. The payments could cover up to three years of the university’s share of insurance, a value of upwards of $50,000, depending on an employee’s health plan. The UW Board of Trustees’ action reduced the number of sick days an employee was allowed to accrue from 960 to 480. It also converted it to a one-time cash payment, based on salary.

WVU to cut spending $45M by 2020 - Laura Haight , Charleston Gazette-Mail

West Virginia University must reduce spending by $45 million by 2020 to survive and thrive in the state’s economy, university President E. Gordon Gee announced Monday in his State of the University address. “This is not a problem, this is an opportunity,” Gee said. WVU lost $30 million of its base budget in recent years, with only 14 percent of the budget coming from state funds now. During Gee’s first WVU presidency, from 1981-85, the state funding for the university was between 60 percent and 70 percent, he said.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Western Illinois University Hoping for Higher Education Funding - RICH EGGER, Peoria Public Radio

Many state lawmakers in Illinois are in campaign mode right now. And that means nothing is being done about the state budget. Lawmakers and the Governor agreed to a stop-gap spending measure at the end of June. It will keep state government services running until early January. But it’s been nearly a year-and-a-half since the state had a true budget. Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas says the lack of a budget creates a great deal of uncertainty for state agencies and social service providers that rely on state funding. Despite that, Thomas says there seems to be no sense of urgency from lawmakers. “Legislators, even in my testimonies, they say that they understand. But you don’t see any actions. So we’re going to continue to put the pressure on and encourage them.”

Panel highlights effects of UW system budget cuts - Jake Skubish, Daily Cardinal

After $250 million in funding was cut from the UW System in the state’s last biennial budget, many different members of the campus community condemned the effect the cuts would have on universities. At a panel in Union South Monday, faculty, staff and students came together to discuss the ways in which the cuts are proving harmful. Teaching Assistants’ Association Co-President Dylan Kaufman-Obstler discussed how the budget cuts have kept TAs from earning a living wage while also forcing them to pay increased student fees. These hardships have led TAs to work extra jobs while also finishing their degree. She also lamented a university plan to pay TAs different salaries depending on the “market value” of their respective fields of study. “The budget squeeze leaves the university to operate more like a private business,” Kaufman-Obstler said. “The dean of the graduate school actually told me that there isn’t any money in paying teachers because teaching doesn’t make headlines.”

College of Business unable to fully utilize new building due to budget cuts - Kaitlyn Alanis, KStateCollegian

Despite the appearance of a “big, expensive building” that was recently built for Kansas State’s College of Business Administration, the college is struggling to provide a stellar experience in its new home due to state cuts and a university callback. “People are like ‘oh you guys aren’t struggling’ (because of the building),” Eric Higgins, associate dean of the College of Business Administration, said. “Well we are when it comes to people and those salaries and that kind of thing because it’s all harder to raise money for. That’s the challenge that we have.” Higgins said that due to a cut and callback of about $700,000 total, the college has had to do “some rearranging” of staff.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

College enrollment down; state focuses on grad rates 11 - Aziza Musa, Arkansas Online

The number of students at Arkansas' colleges and universities has slipped by nearly 5 percent since fall 2012, in part because fewer students are enrolling at the state's two-year colleges. Some 166,689 students -- including those in high school taking college-level courses -- were enrolled at the state's colleges and universities this fall, according to preliminary data from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. In fall 2012, the schools enrolled 174,667 students. The trends are similar nationwide.

After years of neglect, public higher education is at a tipping point - Mary Sue Coleman, Washington Post

Public higher education is at a tipping point in the United States. It is an essential public good that is suffering from an unprecedented erosion of public support, with potentially devastating consequences for our students and our economy. Last week I spoke at the 2016 World Academic Summit, and I wish my message then and now was not so grim. The question is: Will we pass the tipping point, or can we still avoid it? Can we, after years of neglect, protect our public universities before they are irreversibly damaged? There is a great deal at stake.

Through disruptions, higher ed faces questions, opportunities - Greg St. Martin, Northeastern

“It would have been impos­sible in 1969 to really foresee the world that we live in today and the jobs that exist as a result of those changes,” Bacow said. “So, if someone said in 1969 that they wanted to be a web designer, you’d say ‘What?’” Bacow’s com­ments came as part of a panel dis­cus­sion with North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun and Susan Hock­field, the former pres­i­dent of the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nology, who exam­ined the future of higher edu­ca­tion at a time of height­ened scrutiny and fun­da­mental change. Bacow stressed the impor­tance of being modest in our capacity to pre­dict the future, which means edu­cating stu­dents to be pre­pared for a world that will soon look dif­ferent than it does today, one in which the only con­stant is change, and one in which “they are going to increas­ingly be called upon at ever shorter inter­vals to reed­u­cate themselves.”

Saturday, October 22, 2016

ASUM seeks more state funding for UM - Matthew Neuman, Montana Kaimin

The Associated Students of the University of Montana passed a resolution Wednesday to lobby the Montana State Legislature to increase state funding of the University. The resolution asks the legislature to consider an allowance of state funds to reach 50 percent of the University budget. Currently, 39 percent of funding is from the state, and the rest is largely covered by tuition and fees. As recently as 1992, 72 percent of funding came from the state, but as enrollment grew and peaked in 2010, state funding became a decreasing source of funds. The current decline in enrollment has led the University administration to cut faculty and programs due to fewer fees and tuition collected.

Steep tuition hike pitched for many Connecticut community college students - JACQUELINE RABE THOMAS, CT Mirror

Tuition and fees would increase next semester for community college students who take more than 12 credit hours, and the regional Connecticut state universities would stop offering students health insurance under two proposals to balance a difficult budget for the state college system. Currently, community college students who pay full-time tuition can take up to 18 credit hours. A proposal that the Board of Regents’ finance panel will consider next Thursday would charge students $150 in tuition and $74 in mandatory fees for each credit they take over 12. A student who took 18 credit hours would be charged an extra $1,344 over the current cost of $2,084 a semester, a 64.5 percent increase.

Budget cut woes not over for EKU - Kendra Isaacs, Eastern Progress

Eastern’s budget constraints are far from over after the Kentucky Supreme Court’s recent ruling against state aid cuts imposed earlier this year by Gov. Matt Bevin. This summer Bevin agreed to return 2.5 percent of the 4.5 percent he had cut. EKU received a refund of $1.8 million at that time. The Supreme Court’s Sept. 22 ruling says the remaining 2 percent, roughly $1.3 million, will be returned to EKU if Bevin does not appeal the ruling. The university has not received a timeline of when these funds are scheduled to be dispersed. Whenever the refund is distributed it will just be returned back to the university reserve, Middleton said. The ruling does not affect the 4.5 percent cuts that are still in place for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 fiscal years. Unlike the executive order cuts overturned by the court, “those cuts were approved by the General Assembly last spring [2016],” Middleton said.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fears that belt-tightening at UM may compromise quality - KEILA SZPALLER, Missoulian

Quality could be a casualty at the University of Montana if the flagship campus endures further enrollment declines – and related budget trouble. Last year, UM cut its budget – "slashed" it, in the words of one faculty leader – to address falling enrollment, and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education recently praised university leaders for aligning UM's expenses with enrollment. Shortly after that, UM announced another drop in enrollment at 4.8 percent, even as its sister flagship, Montana State University in Bozeman, announced an equivalent jump in headcount.