Monday, July 28, 2014

UGA summer enrollment slide may have hit bottom - LEE SHEARER, Online Athens

Summer school enrollment appears to have declined again at the University of Georgia, but the drop is so small it may indicate an end to four consecutive years of falling numbers. As of July 9, the latest date for which figures are available, summer school enrollment at UGA stood at 13,549, down just barely from last year’s final count of 13,562 students.

Ohio tuition going up at 11 colleges - Collin Binkley, The Columbus Dispatch

Eleven of the 13 traditional, four-year public universities are raising tuition for next school year. But in most cases, growth will be about even with the inflation rate — schools can raise tuition by no more than 2 percent or $188, whichever is higher, under limits set by the state. The total cost of college remains high in Ohio compared with public universities in other states, according to new rankings by the U.S. Department of Education. Miami University topped the list of costliest public colleges in the country, with a net cost of $24,674 a year, based on 2011 data.

Parkland plans on cuts to balance budget - Anna Carrera, Illinois Home Page

Parkland College is in line for a budget shortfall. School leaders say low enrollment may be to blame and it's changing the way they pay for projects next year. The community college offers more than 100 programs. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out where they're making cuts. They won't be cutting any full-time positions, but college leaders will be cutting $1.5 million in salaries by cracking down on overtime and things like that. They hope the financial situation gets better soon. The halls aren't as crowded in the summer as they are in the fall, but even so, they're not as full as college leaders expected. "It seems as though, across the state, enrollment's down, at least at community colleges," said Parkland chief financial officer Christopher Randles. "Some are much worse off than us, so we don't know why exactly the decrease in enrollment, but it seems to be fairly universal."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

S.C. State budget makes cuts - Dale Linder-Altman, T&D

South Carolina State University trustees approved a $75.9 million budget on Friday that spares Felton Laboratory School and the basketball program, but includes a seven-day furlough for employees. Eight of the trustees voted for the 2014-2015 budget, with Chairman Dr. William Small casting the sole dissenting vote. He said S.C. State should not be required to balance the budget in one year. “We did not get here in one year and we did not get here without a lot of help and negligence from others who are now demanding in one year we have a balanced budget independent of what balancing the budget in one year does to the health of this institution,” he said. It’s like “cutting the heart out of a patient to stop the tumor from growing,” Small said.

Budget blues - Champaign News-Gazette Editorial

If you don't ask, you don't get. It's more fun to be around optimists than pessimists, but it's a foolish optimist who can't read the handwriting on the wall. So while it's interesting, instructive and maybe even enlightening to read that the University of Illinois is requesting a nearly $68 million budget increase for the next fiscal year, it is well worth noting that the chances of that happening aren't slim but none. In a recent budget briefing, UI Vice President Christopher Pierre acknowledged the challenge with bleak references to the dire state of the state of Illinois. One read "Titanic Ahead," while another proclaimed "Worse News."

HCC Approves Tentative 2015 Budget - WIFR

Highland Community College has approved a tentative budget for fiscal year 2015. The plan the Board of Trustees OK'ed will be submitted to the Illinois Community College Board once the trustees adopt it in September. In the budget, operating revenues are about $14.2 million and budgeted expenses are about $14.8 million. The operating fund budget includes a deficit of approximately $510,000. Many changes are expected between the adoption of the tentative budget and the presentation of the permanent budget in September. Final state allocations have not been announced yet for fiscal year 2015. An estimate from the ICCB estimates it will be about $130,000 less than fiscal year 2014.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pence orders universities, state agencies to again to pare budgets by 2 - 4.5 percent - Chelsea Schneider, Courier and Press

The University of Southern Indiana and other state universities are facing another round of budget cuts after the state directed the schools hold 2 percent of their state funding in reserve for a second year. During Fiscal Year 2014 that ended June 30, public universities trimmed nearly $34 million from their budgets at the direction of Gov. Mike Pence and state budget officials as a way to help offset tax collections that fell short of expectations. A memo sent in June to university officials directs them to reserve 2 percent of their budget during Fiscal Year 2015. The memo by the State Budget Agency also notes state agencies will have to reserve 4.5 percent of their budgets in 2015 as they did during the last fiscal year.

JWCC passes balanced budget - Quincy Journal

The John Wood Community College Board of Trustees approved a $14,340,600 balanced operating budget during its regular meeting Wednesday, July 16 at the College’s Pittsfield Education Center. The 2015 budget is $600,000 less than the current year and includes a $323,000 reduction in state funding. JWCC projects students to enroll in 41,700 credit hours next year, a decrease of 1,750 from last year’s total of 43,450. The projection is based on a number of factors, including lower unemployment rates and smaller high school graduating classes. The College did exceed summer credit hour projections and is slightly ahead of the projection for fall credit hour production.

UAF starts laying off people amid budget woes - Seattle Post Intelligencer

A reduction in state funding combined with rising fixed costs will force layoffs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The university said about 40 positions will have to be eliminated to help make up for a $12 million budget deficit. Officials hope not filling open positions will take the brunt of the layoffs, but some pink slips are going out.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Higher Education Could Be Tapped for Wash. State Budget - Associated Press

Community college and university officials have been told to plan for more budget cuts to balance the state’s 2015-17 budget. The Office of Financial Management is expecting the state to need at least another $1 billion in revenue to meet its needs for the next biennium. Before Gov. Jay Inslee develops his budget proposal, colleges as well as other state agency have been told to make requests that include up to 15 percent reductions, The Tri-City Herald reported ( ) “We can’t (make cuts) based on efficiencies anymore,” said Marty Brown, executive director for the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. Asking for more cuts right after the Legislature started increasing college and university budgets is disheartening for higher education leaders.

Lake Land board takes first look at '15 budget - KAYLEIGH RAHN, JG-TC

The Lake Land College Board of Trustees during Monday's meeting took its first look at the 2015 budget, which calls for an overall decrease of $424,910 in expenditures versus last year. President Josh Bullock explained the savings will come from reducing expenditures with "strategic replacement" of retirees; staff reductions in force and not filling vacant positions; and operational efficiency initiatives and cutbacks in operational contingency funds. "When we look at how this budget was developed we had to look at a number of factors," Bullock explained. "The first is that we truly have decreased state funding. Although the funding for community colleges as a whole has remained level or flat, the finances coming to Lake Land College is decreasing by $350,000 from the state."

Layoffs underway at Fairbanks university campus to fill budget gap - Jeff Richardson, News Miner

The University of Alaska Fairbanks expects to eliminate at least 40 positions as part of a budget-cutting effort this summer, with most of those pink slips already delivered to employees. Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Pat Pitney said UAF has little choice but to cut positions as a key part of its effort to slash at least $12 million from this year's budget. In a "service-intensive, people-intensive operation" like a university, savings measures will inevitably come down to eliminated jobs, she said. On June 30, UAF unveiled dozens of targets for cutting its budget, which has tightened amid declining state funding and rising fixed costs. Those include across-the-board cuts of 3 to 6 percent for its academic units, many of which will translate into lost positions.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sustainability, Divestment and Debt: a Survey of Business Officers - Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed

The survey, which will be released in conjunction with the upcoming annual meeting of the National Association of College and University Business Officers, is based on the responses of chief financial officers at 438 colleges and universities. Techniques that got the most support: reducing administrative positions (37 percent agreed they would do this in the coming year), eliminating underperforming academic programs (37 percent), have part-time faculty teach more undergraduates (35 percent), giving full-time faculty more classes (30 percent), promoting early retirement for faculty (28 percent), outsourcing administrative services (30 percent), and shifting to a web-based model (35 percent). A majority looked to collaboration to control costs. Over half (55 percent) said they wanted to work with other institutions to provide academic programs. A smaller number (37 percent) wanted to collaborate on administrative services with other colleges.

For Community Colleges, Post-Recession Blues - Charlie Tyson, Inside Higher Ed

Community college enrollments swelled after the 2008 financial crisis. In the 2010-11 academic year, national enrollment numbers were almost 25 percent higher than in the 2007-8 academic year, said David Baime, senior vice president for government relations and research for the American Association of Community Colleges. The surge was brief. Enrollment at two-year public institutions fell 3.6 percent between spring 2012 and spring 2013. The numbers dropped 2.7 percent between spring 2013 and spring 2014. Community colleges are losing students older than 24 at disproportionate rates. These students still make up roughly 40 percent of community college attendees. But between 2013 and 2014, the over-24 age group saw a 5.9 percent decline in community college enrollment. In that same period, enrollments fell just 0.5 percent among community college students 24 years and younger. More students currently attend two-year colleges than did before the recession. But languishing enrollment numbers in the last three years have forced many community colleges to downsize.

Dropping Profit - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

These are hard days for most for-profit colleges. Declining revenues and an ongoing regulatory crackdown has led to speculation that some in the sector -- including one of the major, publicly traded companies -- will go nonprofit to get out of the crosshairs. Yet that transition isn’t easy or practical for most for-profits. Just four have successfully changed their tax status in recent years, sources said. And those institutions appear to have made the jump mostly for reasons other than avoiding the Obama administration’s proposed “gainful employment” regulations or a current rule that for-profits can get no more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal sources. The four for-profits that made the transition were all privately held and relatively small, at least compared to the dozen or so behemoths that dominate the public discourse about for-profit higher education. Keiser University, a Florida-based chain, is the most prominent of the group. Others include Stevens-Henager College and Remington College.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Unbundling And Re-bundling In Higher Education - Michael Horn, Forbes

With the explosion of online learning, a disruptive innovation, there has been significant attention paid to the likely unbundling of higher education (see Michael Staton’s AEI piece and this University Ventures Fund piece, for example). We’ve written about unbundling ourselves. In every industry, the early successful products and services often have an interdependent architecture—meaning that they tend to be proprietary and bundled. The reason for this is that when a technology is immature, in order to make the products reliable or powerful enough so that they will gain traction, an entity has to wrap its hands around the whole system architecture so that it can wring out every ounce of performance.

College of the Redwoods board reduces number of trustee areas to help with budget - Melissa Simon, Times-Standard

With the decision made to reduce the number of trustee areas, College of the Redwoods President Kathy Smith is in the process of preparing a form to send to the Board of Governors for the California Community College for ratification. "The form shows the new map of the districts, and also includes the resolution the board adopted," Smith said. "I have to submit the form 30 days before the meeting, and my guess is that it might be on the September meeting agenda because I don't know if it will be ready for August." Smith said the College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to reduce the trustee areas from nine to eight to match the number of members and even out the number of people represented in each district. "We started talking about this two years ago when we realized the fiscal crisis we were in with the budget," Smith said. "We started looking at how to reduce costs and balance the budget."

MCC to leave property tax, tuition rates unchanged in spite of budget crunch - REGINA DENNIS, Waco Tribune

McLennan Community College won’t pursue a tax increase to cover a projected $750,000 drop in tuition revenue for the upcoming school year. MCC’s administration presented a preliminary budget to its board of trustees Saturday during the group’s annual summer retreat. The budget as proposed will keep the school’s property tax rate at 15.15 cents per $100 property valuation. Tuition also would remain unchanged at $106 per credit hour for McLennan County residents, $124 for out-of-county students and $181 for international residents. But the college has had to trim other expenses in anticipation of the drop in tuition and fees. Enrollment is projected to decrease by about 3 percent this fall, following an 8.8 percent drop in the student population during the 2013-14 school year.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Editorial: Should college in America be only for the rich? - WV Gazette

Advanced education is crucial for successful careers in the snowballing Information Age — but America’s colleges and universities, with ever-rising tuition, increasingly serve only the wealthy and affluent. That’s the view of a top Australian economist. Dr. John Quiggin wrote last month: America’s elite private universities serve only “around 100,000 students, about 1 percent of the eligible age cohort,” he wrote. At the other end of the spectrum, for-profit, online U.S. colleges are “little better than scams, aimed at extracting public grant money from poor students,” the economist said. Lower-income Americans are in danger of being squeezed out of college opportunity and the middle-class future it brings. The only higher education avenue available for too many working families is for youths to incur horrendous student loans that will haunt them for decades.

Credit Ratings Get Shakier for Colleges - Nick Anderson, The Washington Post

Howard University’s credit rating by Moody’s Investors Service fell this month for the second time in the past year, largely because of concerns about money troubles at its hospital. But the historically black university in Washington has plenty of company: Moody’s has downgraded three dozen other four-year colleges and universities since July 2013, a sign of continuing financial fragility in higher education.

Benefits Options for Adjuncts - Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Many adjuncts not only work for low pay, but do so without employer-provided health insurance. So the American Federations of Teachers’ announcement on Friday that it was partnering with the Freelancers Union to offer adjuncts – even those who aren’t part of AFT – access to benefits came as good news to many. The AFT is not paying for benefits, but rather is offering adjuncts access to various plans that might be difficult or more expensive to obtain individually. Earlier this year, the Freelancers Union announced the launch of a National Benefits Platform, through which independent workers can search by ZIP code a “suite” of various benefits. Offerings include health and dental insurance and retirement and term life insurance. The new AFT partnership will offer adjuncts a special web portal to access these and other programs and services offered by both unions, starting this fall.