Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Indiana University dean expects budget shortfall - Associated Press

The College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University will have a budget shortfall of $4 million to $8 million for the 2015-16 academic year, which could mean a hiring freeze and fewer graduate course offerings, according to an official with the college. The college runs on a $393 million budget, according to Dean Larry Singell.

Coalition: U Montana budget cuts are 'a devastating assault' on curriculum, academics - Keila Szpaller, the Missoulian

A coalition of students, faculty and community members are denouncing budget cuts at the University of Montana and condemning them as "a devastating assault" on curriculum and staffing. In a letter to UM president Royce Engstrom, 47 signers described this academic year as "one of the bleakest" at the institution, and they list the ways the budget shortfalls are affecting students. The administration pegged the shortfall at $5.7 million in the most recent budget and planning committee meeting.

Among state universities, a fight for rich students - LYNN O'SHAUGHNESSY, MoneyWatch

State universities are increasingly becoming bastions of privilege. In order to boost their revenue by moving up in popular college rankings, public universities are increasingly awarding merit scholarships to affluent students who live within their borders -- and beyond. This often comes at the expense of the institutions' own state residents, according to a new study by the New American Foundation, a centrist think tank that explored the merit aid practices at 424 public colleges and universities.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Even Private Colleges Feel the Pain as Enrollment Falls Again - Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Total college enrollment fell again this year, driven primarily by the departure of older students finding employment in an improving economy, according to a report released on Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse. Total postsecondary enrollment this spring dropped 1.9 percent from last year, according to the report. The sector suffering the biggest decline was four-year for-profit institutions, which saw a 4.9-percent enrollment drop. Public two-year institutions saw the second-highest percentage of students leave, at 3.9 percent. Students over the age of 24 left for-profit and community colleges at the highest rates, with the sectors seeing declines of 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Enrollment at private four-year colleges dropped for the first time in several years.

The In-State Tuition Break, Slowly Disappearing - Kevin Carey, NY Times

Part of this story is familiar to anyone who has watched public universities raise tuition and fees, in some cases by 50 percent or more. But there’s another, less obvious, part of the story. Many of the most elite public universities are steadily restricting the number of students who are allowed to pay in-state tuition in the first place. A result is the creeping privatization of elite public universities that have historically provided an accessible route to jobs in academia, business and government. One of the most important paths to upward mobility, open on a meritocratic basis to people from all economic classes, is narrowing.

Ohio State University’s largest college faces $10 million budget gap - Associated Press

Spending cuts are expected next school year at Ohio State University due to a projected $10 million budget gap in the university’s largest college. The Columbus Dispatch reports Monday that the shortfall is forcing the university’s College of Arts and Sciences to hire fewer graduate students and lecturers next year. The college’s budget deficit for the coming school year follows a $4.6 million deficit that the school plugged with cash savings last year.

Monday, May 25, 2015

TwitterChat: Balancing the Urgency of Revenue Performance with Mission and Quality Online - Ray Schroeder, Josh Kim, Katie Blot, Debbie Cavalier

Challenged by complex and shifting funding models, higher education faces a growing urgency to balance mission and product mix to keep things afloat as enrollments and state funding decline. Adding to this complexity is the growing tension in the marketplace in which the value/currency of traditional degrees are challenged by micro-credentials and the emergence of CBE. How can institutions address these crises? Join UPCEA for this timely TweetChat by using the hashtag #HigherEdAhead on social media as online education leaders share experiences and resources and respond to your questions. A live question and answer session will occur on May 27th from 2-3PM EST.

NM higher education enrollment down - Mike Bush, Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico’s colleges and universities saw – by far – the steepest enrollment drop in the nation over the past year. From spring semester 2014 to the spring of 2015, enrollment in New Mexico’s post-secondary institutions plummeted 8.3 percent, compared with a national decline of 1.9 percent, according to a new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Overall, New Mexico had 10,914 fewer students enrolled in its colleges and universities this spring when compared to last spring. “The declining enrollments in higher education are a concern,” said CNM President Kathie Winograd. “In New Mexico, we need to be increasing the percentage of our population that possesses higher education credentials, in order to generate a more robust economy that provides more good jobs.”

Moody's: State Controls Limit Options for Higher Ed - Inside Higher Ed

Public universities under strong control from their state legislatures and governing systems are having a more difficult time responding to the financial pressures on public higher education, according to a new report from Moody's. State governments can control decisions as wide ranging as tuition rates to faculty pay levels to procurement, despite the fact that many legislatures with such policies have also dramatically dropped their funding levels. A recent credit outlook report from Moody's says such an environment prevents "leaders from taking decisive actions to address economic and market challenges," and can weaken a college's financial standing in an era of economic difficulty for higher education (last year, 20 percent of Moody’s rated public universities saw a decline in revenue).

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Buying Outsiders - Kellie Woodhouse, Inside Higher Ed

Public universities are using non-need-based aid to recruit out-of-state students, at the expense of low-income and in-state students. That’s the thesis of a report released today by New America. Public colleges that provide substantial amounts of what they call merit aid to students tend to enroll more nonresident students -- and have experienced a greater decline in resident students over the past 15 years -- than their peers that don't use that strategy, the report found. They also tend to enroll fewer students with Pell Grants and charge low-income students a higher average net price than colleges that provide little merit aid.

Illinois Wesleyan's enrollment drop leads to budget shortfall - LENORE SOBOTA, Lee News Service

Illinois Wesleyan University administrators will be spending the summer looking for ways to fill a $1.5 million revenue gap in a $100 million budget resulting from a smaller-than-expected incoming class for the upcoming fall semester. President Dick Wilson said Friday about half of the gap will be made up from reserves in various accounts. The rest will come from a “tax” on the operating budgets of each campus unit, essentially a 1½ percent cut in each unit. No job cuts are planned, he said.

UW-Madison grads shine through gloomy skies, budget concerns - Dennis Punzel, Wisconsin State Journal

“State schools are the heart and soul of our nation and we so need the brain power that is ignited on these campuses,” said commencement speaker Katie Couric, a graduate of the University of Virginia. “So while the rest of the world, including our fiercest global competitor, China, is racing to imitate our public education system, we cannot afford to tear ours down. “I hope I’m saying that loud enough for the politicians down the road to hear me.” Of course, those politicians would be the Wisconsin legislators who are considering Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed $300 million cut to the UW System, which would include a sizable chunk out of the UW-Madison budget.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Despite objections, lawmakers cut funding to Western Nevada College - Record-Courier

Despite comments by more than a half dozen lawmakers the proposed university system budgets unfairly damage the community college system, the cuts in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget were approved by the money committees on Friday. Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, and Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Smith Valley, said they couldn’t support the funding plan for NSHE because of the cuts to the community colleges. “Clearly, anytime you’ve got a reduction of 15 or 16 percent to some community colleges, well, you might as well turn the lights off,” said Goicoechea. “I won’t be supporting it.”

Sunday classes, adjuncts among cuts at state colleges - Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post

Sunday classes will be eliminated and office supplies cut by 5 percent this fall at Housatonic Community College to deal with an anticipated $1.4 million budget reduction. At Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, it will be adjunct faculty that help take a bite out of a projected $3.4 million budget cut. Some 76 out of 601 part-time lecturers will not get contracts. The presidents of both institutions told a Board of Regents finance panel Wednesday their plans remain precarious. They count on enrollment -- which has been slipping -- holding steady next fall.

James Carville to LSU grads: 'Our university is in crisis' - Quincy Hodges, The Times-Picayune

As LSU graduates the largest class in its history, nearly 4,000 students, the university, along with other higher education institutions across the state, is facing $600 million in budget cuts because of $1.6 billion budget shortfall. A cut of that magnitude would cause LSU to lose more than 80 percent of its state funding, prompting the university to scale back academic programs, hire fewer faculty members and cutback academic research. "The plain truth is that our university is in crisis and to deny that is to deny reality," Carville said. Carville wrote a letter to the editor in LSU's student-run newspaper, the Daily Reveille, in March, taking aim at Gov. Bobby Jindal for his strict adherence to guidelines set forth by Americans for Tax Reform regarding the "no tax" pledge.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Texas Legislators take aim at financial aid programs for college students - TERESA MCUSIC, Star-Telegram

New college freshmen in Texas universities will likely not be seeing some popular forms of financial aid from the state in their packages this year. The Top 10% Scholarship Program for those in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes has been cut in both the Senate and House versions of the state budget. Likewise, the B-on-Time loan program, which offered zero-percent interest and loan waivers to those who graduated in a timely fashion with a “B” average, has been slated to be phased out with no new awards to entering freshmen. In addition, the Hazlewood Legacy tuition waiver program for Texas veterans and their children has been severely curtailed with new restrictions placed by the state Senate earlier this month

MacEwan University increasing tuition and fees, cutting positions - Slav Kornik, Global News

MacEwan University is cutting 41 positions, increasing tuition by 2.2 per cent, and increasing application fees for Canadian students for the next school year. According to the university, the increases and cuts will help balance its budget for the current fiscal year, which had been facing a $5 million deficit.

A Conversation with NAU President Rita Cheng About How Budget Cuts will Affect the Future of Higher - RYAN HEINSIUS, KNAU

Arizona’s most recent budget cut nearly a $100 million from the state’s three public universities. Northern Arizona University alone will lose $17.3 million and officials there have responded with a tuition increase for incoming students and the restructuring of several programs. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius sat down with NAU President Rita Cheng this week to discuss how the university is dealing with the cuts and what the future of higher education in the state might look like.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

LSU facing 'dramatic' budget cuts while it builds lazy river - Quincy Hodges, The Times-Picayune

Does it make sense that LSU, currently facing the prospect of a $55.5 million state funding cut, is embarking on an $84.75 million overhaul -- featuring a lazy river in the shape of L-S-U, of its student recreation center? It's a question Huffington Post set out to answer. Student recreation fees, which were approved in 2011, are funding the rec center renovations. Given the ongoing construction it appears "awkward" as the state legislature attempts to address $600 million in cuts to higher education funding to help fill a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, the article says. "The funds for the project come directly from the student fee and can only be used for the project," LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard told The Huffington Post. "Similar to donations to the university or funds from the state for capital projects, these types of funds can't be shifted to fill in budget holes or be used in another way. They can only be used for what they were originally designated for." LSU began putting together the necessary paperwork in April to file financial exigency

Protesters decry cuts to Puerto Rico University - Ed Adamczyk, UPI

A massive demonstration protesting budget cuts to Puerto Rico's state university filled a Capitol plaza in San Juan. Thousands of people enrolled or employed at Puerto Rico University (UPR) met at the Capitol building and marched to the home of the U.S. commonwealth's chief executive Wednesday. The government has threatened a 20 percent budget cut to the university.

Connecticut House Calls For Cheaper College Textbooks - Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant

Alarmed that college textbooks now cost an average of $1,200 per year per student, the state House of Representatives voted unanimously Tuesday to create a pilot program to help bring down the costs. By a vote of 144 – 0 with seven lawmakers absent, the House called for a program for using online textbooks, which can cut the price by nearly 90 percent. The pilot will be conducted at the University of Connecticut and colleges in the Board of Regents for Higher Education system. "There is no question that there is a very urgent need to help students who are overwhelmed with the cost of college,'' said Rep. Whit Betts, a Bristol Republican who serves as the ranking member of the legislature's higher education committee. "I strongly endorse moving forward.''