Sunday, May 1, 2016

Butler battles $10 million deficit - Katie Goodrich, Butler Collegian

Next year, the university will take another “strategic loss” of $2-3 million, according to an April 4 email from Bruce Arick, vice president for finance and administration. The largest class in Butler’s history is graduating, and they are taking their tuition money with them. Lower-than-expected enrollment numbers also hurt the operating budget, which relies largely on undergraduate tuition. The announcement of the financial situation prompted Faculty Senator Bill Watts to draft a resolution that passed unanimously calling for transparency and discussion from the administration. “I was surprised the number was so large,” he said. “I have felt over the years that our forecasting was pretty good, so to be off like this, it was a bit of a shock.”

Tears at University of North Dakota budget cut forum - Neil Carlson, Valley News

There were some tears Wednesday at a public forum regarding budget cuts at the University of North Dakota. UND is trying to make 21-million-dollars of cuts, following less State funding, because of a State budget shortfall. Jackie DeMolee, Losing UND Staff Job: “I will no longer be employed at this institution. It is not because I don’t love it. It is not because of my performance. It’s because of the budget cuts.” This woman is losing her staff position working at UND’s One-Stop, information center. Ed Schafer, UND President: “We will have a recruiting program and hopefully, we can find another spot, find another place so that you remain in the family of the University of North Dakota.”

Watch All ABC-7 Newscasts Live Online Everyday of the Week on More New Mexico State University employees brace for budget cuts - KVIA

It's not an easy topic to talk about: budget cuts. And NMSU employees will be hit the most starting in the fall. As ABC-7 has reported, NMSU voted not to raise tuition for the upcoming school year. They're now forced to cut nearly $10.7 million from the budget. Possible cuts include: Reducing salaries for administrators who make over $100,000 a year, which University President Garrey Carruthers said Tuesday is a done deal. Some other cuts they're considering: Eliminating retiree health coverage for new employees starting in July. Eliminating sick leave payout for all employees, and getting rid of the employee health care center, which tends to nearly 3,000 employees a year.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

JCTC announces staff layoffs amid budget pressures - Marty Finley, Louisville Business First

Facing an $8.5 million budget shortfall and declining student enrollment, Jefferson Community and Technical College has laid off 61 staff members in hopes of easing its financial struggles. The layoffs are part of an “ongoing reorganization that will include administration and faculty,” according to a news release. Facing an $8.5 million budget shortfall and declining student enrollment, Jefferson Community and Technical College has laid off 61 staff members in hopes of easing its financial struggles. JCTC said in a news release that its enrollment has dropped significantly since 2010, from a peak of 15,000 to spring 2016 enrollment of 10,700. That drop has greatly affected the two-year college’s budget because 75 percent of its revenue comes from tuition.

University of North Dakota eyes buildings to vacate as part of new master plan - Anna Burleson, Forum News

About a dozen buildings on the University of North Dakota's campus will be closed up and left empty in coming years because the university has more space than it needs. Some of the buildings are in poor condition. A 438-page master plan released this month states much of what needs to be done is contingent on the ability to obtain funding. Interim UND President Ed Schafer wrote in a campuswide memo that the funding most likely won't come from the state. "We are going to have to find alternative ways of funding these projects, and one is to fund the projects from within," he said, referring to ongoing budget cuts at the school. "The budget work we are doing now will result in the university having the flexibility to invest in priority areas."

Kentucky: Financial aid for up to 30,000 restored at the wire - LINDA BLACKFORD, Herald-Leader

At 9 p.m. on April 15, with just three hours to go before the 2016 legislative session would adjourn for the year, Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles, grabbed a just-printed version of the state budget and noticed something very amiss. Although House leaders had told Kay earlier in the session that the budget would not continue the legislature’s practice of diverting lottery proceeds meant for need-based student financial aid into the state’s General Fund, the bill called for diverting $40 million in lottery funds to pay for a new community college scholarship program and other initiatives. He rushed to House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s office, where budget staff members were already working on a cleanup bill to fix the error. Yes, they assured him, it was a mistake, and they would correct it in House Bill 10.

Friday, April 29, 2016

University of Alaska will deal with cuts, but no school can be great on short rations - Jim Johnsen, Alaska Dispatch

For the university, this future means tough choices. With our budget possibly being cut by as much as $50 million, we are faced with making deep budget cuts while at the same time meeting the educational needs of our students and our state. I’ve said all along that the university is an important and wise investment in the state’s future, and it is my intent to lead by example and demonstrate that when faced with budget adversity, we know what to do even though the choices are tough. Our budget options call for substantial reductions. These will hit us hard and they will affect our programs, our people, and our communities. The economic impact alone of severe job losses will hurt our local economies. At the same time, we must invest in key programs such as research, teacher education and health sciences, as well as the deferred maintenance of our aging facilities.

Budget cuts leave some UW-EC students scrambling for classes to graduate - Eric Lindquist, Leader-Telegram

The stress level is running high at UW-Eau Claire this month. Not because of final exams. That traditional source of college anxiety remains three weeks away. This new campus distress signal arises from the class registration taking place throughout April, specifically from the inability of many students to secure seats in the courses they need to graduate on time. Rising complaints about class availability are a direct result of falling state funding for the UW System, students and administrators agreed. At UW-Eau Claire, the $250 million cut in state funding for the public university system in the 2015-17 budget translated to a loss of 15 percent of its workforce to absorb a $7.7 million reduction in state aid, a loss compounded by enrollment declines that cost the university an additional $1.5 million. The job losses came from a combination of buyouts, layoffs, resignations and retirements.

Budget proposals show details of UND cuts - Anna Burleson, Grand Forks Herald

Details of proposed cuts have been emerging since UND announced a plan to reduce its budget, and documents released last week show planning has varied across the university. The Herald requested budget proposals from each of UND’s academic divisions -- its law, aerospace, engineering and business schools -- which showed they approached the cuts in very different ways, from a long presentation at the College of Engineering and Mines about priorities to a one-page short summary from the School of Graduate Studies. Interim UND Vice President for University and Public Affairs Peter Johnson said the documents are fluid and changing. For example, as of Thursday the decision to lay off one $45,000 staff position in the biology department in the College of Arts and Sciences proposal had been reversed.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

UND responds to budget decisions - Sean Cleary,Dakota Student

Tears were shed, grievances were heard and questions were asked about the rationale behind UND’s proposed budget cuts. Hundreds of people flocked to the Memorial Union Ballroom to take part in a public forum regarding the recent budget proposals. Interim UND President Ed Schafer opened the forum with a brief speech about the budget process, noting that the he is trying to position the university for future success through this reshaping of the budget. “While we are talking about cuts today and changes in budget and difficulties that we are going through right now, we are also making investments in the future of the university,” Schafer said.

Chicago State University Responds to $600 Million Funding Fix - Tom Schuba, NBC Chicago

Chicago State University said Friday that while the approval of a $600 million spending bill to keep Illinois' public universities and colleges open through the summer is appreciated, it's not enough. “The entire CSU family appreciates the support of lawmakers who voted to provide these much needed funds in order to help universities continue effective operations,” the statement reads. “It should be noted however that this funding measure represents only a portion of the appropriation CSU and its sister universities are owed by the state. The amount provided is insufficient in solving the broader crisis the budget impasse has created.”

Jefferson Community and Technical College cuts 61 staff jobs - Associated Press

Jefferson Community and Technical College has announced it is laying off 61 employees - about 14 percent of its staff. Vice President Lisa Brosky told local media Wednesday that the college concluded its workforce “must be leaner and more efficient” in order to maintain a balanced operating budget. The cuts come from the college’s 287 full-time staff and 149 part-time staff members.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Budget message from Illinois State University President Larry Dietz - Illinois State University

The Illinois General Assembly today passed legislation that will provide some much-needed funding for Illinois State University and public universities throughout the state. Under the measure, which is expected to be signed by Governor Rauner, Illinois State would receive just over $20.9 million, about 31 percent of our Fiscal Year 2015 state operating budget. The measure also provides partial funding for the Monetary Award Program. While we look forward to continued discussions to approve a comprehensive fiscal year 2016 and ultimately, a fiscal year 2017 budget, I appreciate the Legislature’s bipartisan efforts to pass a stop-gap measure for public higher education.

Local college layoffs stand despite state budget progress - Mike Riopell and Marni Pyke, Daily Herald

Layoffs announced by two suburban community colleges in recent weeks won't be reversed in spite of state officials' move Friday to approve an "emergency" budget for colleges and universities intended to keep them afloat at least for the coming months. Lawmakers voted to send Gov. Bruce Rauner $600 million in spending, divvied up among community colleges, state universities, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, and a key state scholarship program many colleges have had to float for low-income students while state officials have battled over the budget since July 1.

Green River College staff, students walk out over leadership, budget - Katherine Long, Seattle Times

Green River College faculty and staff walked out of classes and held a rally at the Auburn campus Friday to protest the way the college is being managed. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff staged a walkout at Green River College in Auburn on Friday, leaving their classrooms to march through campus and shouting for the college’s president to resign. The protest was the latest action in a long-running dispute between faculty and administrators over how the community college is run. The faculty has twice voted that they have no confidence in President Eileen Ely, most recently asking her to step down in May 2015. They also have voted that they have no confidence in the school’s board of trustees. The board, which is appointed by the governor, has said it supports Ely’s presidency.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Oklahoma budget shortfall hammers higher education - K.S. McNUTT, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma’s higher education system has absorbed $112.2 million in cuts so far this fiscal year and is bracing for more in 2016-17. “These severe budget cuts have resulted in forced furloughs and the reduction of academic programs, personnel, student services and college degree completion initiatives,” Chancellor Glen Johnson said.

Illinois Universities Grateful; Say More Needed - Associated Press

Leaders of Illinois' public universities are thankful for the money the stop-gap funding bill passed by the state's General Assembly will provide. But they emphasize that the $600 million is only a fraction of what they need to operate and would not wipe away the consequences of the 10-month state budget standoff. Matt Bierman is budget director at Western Illinois University. He said the $20 million that the Macomb school would get if Gov. Bruce Rauner signs the bill will ease doubts about being able to open for the fall semester, but that 110 planned layoffs will probably go ahead. University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen said cuts in staff and programs are still likely. A spokeswoman at the Urbana-Champaign campus confirmed that plans for civil-service worker layoffs will not change.

University system bracing for deep budget cuts in upcoming fiscal year - Dan Carpenter, KTUU

The University of Alaska Board Of Regents was presented with several budget scenarios at a meeting last week but its worst case scenario just passed the Legislative Conference Committee. $50 million in cuts could be on the way for the next fiscal year and, although no final budget decisions have been made, the University of Alaska Anchorage is being transparent about potential impacts. “We’ve already taken over the last two years about a $20 million cut and this is that kind of cut in one year, added on to what we’ve already taken, so we’re starting to get to a point where we’re dealing with our core mission here of teaching,” said UAA Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Bill Spindle.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monitoring the Gatekeepers - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

The Obama administration continues to turn up pressure on accreditors, promising in new letter to measure the agencies against their peers and urging more focus on student achievement and troubled colleges. On Friday, the administration told accreditors to focus more on enforcing standards that measure student achievement and to consider additional scrutiny for colleges with significant problems. The new guidance from the U.S. Department of Education is the latest in a series of attempts by the White House to encourage accreditors to tighten up in their role as gatekeepers for federal financial aid. A group of 24 U.S. Senate Democrats also weighed in on accreditation on Friday. In a letter to the department, the senators said accreditors too often allow colleges with “shockingly poor performance” to retain their accreditation.

Western Illinois University plans to lay off more than 100 employees - KATRINA LAMANSKY, WQAD

More than 100 employees at Western Illinois University were expected to be laid off despite the recent fractional funding approved by the Illinois General Assembly. A memo that went out to faculty and staff indicated that 110 non-instructional employees were being laid off, according to a spokesperson with the Illinois Federation of Teachers. The memo told workers that those being included in the layoffs were notified during the week of April 18, 2016. In the letter to employees, President Thomas said despite “drastic reductions to spending” the layoffs were “necessary to protect the university’s cash resources,” according to a report by the Herald Whig.

Proposed budget would cut free SAT, M-STEP tests - WILL GREENBERG, Michigan Radio

A budget proposal now in the state house would cut funding for free SAT testing. The proposed $10 million cut comes from the House Appropriations Committee. If passed, schools would no longer provide each student with a college admissions test – students would have to pay to take the test elsewhere. Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, chairs the School Aid Subcommittee, and said while eliminating the SAT got the most attention, his real goal is to start a discussion about replacing the M-STEP standardized testing – which the bill also removes.