Tuesday, March 31, 2015

LSU chief emerges as key voice against budget cuts - ELIZABETH CRISP, the Advocate

“Be annoying.” That’s the advice LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander has given to students who oppose what could become deep cuts to state higher education funding in the coming year. “Sometimes, you don’t have to be so polite. This is a time when you need to fight,” Alexander said. By all appearances, Alexander isn’t shying away from following his own advice. This week, Alexander will appear at the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday and the Rotary Club on Wednesday. It’s the latest in his campaign against what could be a dramatic hit to higher education funding as the state grapples with a $1.6 billion funding shortfall. http://theadvocate.com/news/acadiana/11912296-123/lsu-chief-emerges-as-key

After promising to pay college education for veterans, Texas finding it's just too expensive - Associated Press

They signed up to fight for their country, and the state of Texas promised to pay for their education. For decades, veterans went to public universities and colleges under the Hazlewood Exemption, which kicks in after federal benefits under the G.I. Bill are exhausted. But the price tag has increased sevenfold since 2009, when legislators in Texas — which has the country's second-highest veteran population, 1.7 million — allowed the benefit to be passed on to veterans' children under a legacy provision. "Everybody's heart was in the right place when we added all the other beneficiaries," said Republican Sen. Kel Seliger, chair of the Senate's higher education committee. But, he added, "it just got too high of a price tag." http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2015/03/22/after-promising-to-pay-college-education-for-veterans-texas-finding-it-just-too/

More Illinois College Presidents Against Budget Reduction - Dave Dahl, Illinois Radio Network

Two of the latest presidents to come to the Capitol, hats in hand, are from Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University, trying to stave off a proposed 31 percent cut in state funding. We've done a better job of raising more money on the private sector, says ISU's Larry Dietz. Last year, we raised, at the end of the fiscal year, $19.5 million. With our faculty and staff not having had a raise in three years, and with over $460 million in deferred maintenance on our facilities, says Northern Illinois' Doug Baker, it would be difficult for us to even further reduce the budget. Baker says it could make up that cut by increasing tuition on freshmen by 75 percent. Truth in tuition policies keep universities from increasing tuition on most students once they enroll. http://www.riverbender.com/news/details/more-college-presidents-against-budget-reduction-168218.cfm

Monday, March 30, 2015

After building boom, UMass $3 billion in debt - Laura Krantz, Boston GLOBE

From a gleaming science center in Boston to an honors college in Amherst, the University of Massachusetts has enjoyed an unprecedented building boom over the past decade, with new classrooms and dorms and long-delayed infrastructure improvements across its five campuses. But all that spending has also left UMass with $3 billion of debt. And that cloud could present a challenge as it seeks to continue the growth that in recent years helped bolster enrollment and raise the university’s profile from an affordable “safety” school for many students to a more expensive, desirable, and highly competitive one. http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/03/21/after-building-boom-umass-sizes-debt/rnbYFtGVZsp11mZn9buJAM/story.html

Is Illinois walking away from higher education? - Jim Nowlan, News Gazette

"Illinois is slowly walking away from higher education," laments one long-time state government insider. For the coming year, Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed cutting direct appropriations for our public colleges and universities by almost $400 million, or about 20 percent. This after more than a decade during which direct funding to the public universities has been cut almost every year, certainly in inflation-adjusted terms. Unfortunately, state spending increases for pensions and the Medicaid health care program have been crowding out spending for higher education and social service programs. http://www.news-gazette.com/opinion/columns/2015-03-22/illinois-walking-away-higher-education.html

Indiana's higher education achievement results mixed - J.K. Wall, Illinois Business Journal

Indiana’s public colleges and universities, spurred by pressure from state lawmakers, are pumping out more graduates than ever. But in spite of a 20-percent increase in degrees granted since 2010, the education level of Indiana’s younger adults has barely budged, for reasons that aren’t clear. Compared with the rest of the nation, the state actually lost ground in the past decade on the chunk of its residents age 18 to 34 holding at least an associate’s degree. Only 35 percent of Hoosiers age 25 to 64 held an associate’s degree or higher in 2013, according to the most recent census data. Nationally, the rate is 40 percent. Indiana’s gains in education levels have come almost entirely from Hoosiers age 35 to 64, many of whom went back to school after losing jobs during the Great Recession that began in late 2007. http://www.ibj.com/articles/52350-indianas-higher-education-achievement-results-mixed

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Audit: SC State University debt $23.5M by end of fiscal year - Charlotte Post

South Carolina State University's escalating debt is expected to reach $23.5 million by the end of this school year, adding to calls for an immediate overhaul. An accounting firm presented a financial forecast Wednesday that's even worse than lawmakers expected. South Carolina's only public historically black university cannot reduce its unpaid bills without additional aid from the state, Tom McNeish of Elliott Davis Decosimo told the Budget and Control Board, which hired his firm last year. Gov. Nikki Haley said the school's survival depends on leadership being willing to make deep cuts. “South Carolina State is on life support,'' she said. “Something has to be done now. We've got to see action yesterday.'' http://www.thecharlottepost.com/news/2015/03/20/local/audit-sc-state-university-debt-23.5m-by-end-of-fiscal-year/

The House GOP budget targets grants for the neediest students - Washington Post Editorial Board

THE BUDGET outline released by House Republicans would freeze levels of financial aid for poor college students, on the pretext that the Obama administration’s expansion of student assistance is expensive and ill-targeted. It’s a bad idea built on a faulty premise. Even if that weren’t the case, the proposal is a poor way to achieve cost savings or increase the efficiency of federal student aid. The underlying absurdity is the notion that the federal budget can be balanced without both long-term entitlement cuts and an increase in revenue. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-house-gop-budget-targets-grants-for-the-neediest-students/2015/03/21/86bfa8a6-ce88-11e4-8c54-ffb5ba6f2f69_story.html

Malloy's budget cuts scholarships to private colleges - Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post

Students who attend private colleges in Connecticut would no longer qualify for a state-funded scholarship program in a move that students and college officials alike say is shortsighted. "I am not thinking about myself," said Ben Yambao, a freshman from Shelton attending Sacred Heart University in Fairfield with the help of a so-called Governor's Scholarship. "I'm thinking about all the deserving students who have potential to achieve the same goals I am going after." http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Malloy-s-budget-cuts-scholarships-to-private-6148462.php

Saturday, March 28, 2015

SIU Considers Impact of Proposed State Budget Cut - JEFF WILLIAMS, WSIU

Presidents from the state's public universities have met with lawmakers at the state capitol to object to Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed higher education budget for FY 2016. The Governor's proposal includes a nearly 32% funding cut for the state's public universities. This week, SIU President Randy Dunn briefed the university's board of trustees on what the governor's proposed cuts could mean. Dunn says a potential loss of $64 million to the SIU system could mean the reduction of some 450 jobs on the Carbondale campus and 250 on the Edwardsville campus. Carbondale's share of the proposed cut is about $32 million. http://news.wsiu.org/post/siu-considers-impact-proposed-state-budget-cut

Louisiana college students plan to protest budget cuts at state Capitol April 15 - ELIZABETH CRISP, the Advocate

Louisiana college students are planning to demonstrate at the state Capitol on April 15 in response to the threat of deep cuts to higher education funding in the coming year. The state Legislature’s 2015 session begins April 13. With Louisiana facing a $1.6 billion funding shortfall, funding for colleges and universities could be cut by millions. LSU Board of Supervisors student member Brandon Crane said all supporters of higher education are urged to help with and join in the demonstration. “It is important to our system, all of our schools,” he said during a board meeting Friday. http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/2015/03/20/louisiana-college-students-plan-capitol-protest/

Budget cuts will leave scars on UW campuses - Green Bay Press Gazette

The Retirees Association of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a 200-plus-member organization of retired faculty and staff, has grave concerns about the devastating cuts in Gov. Walker's proposed budget for the UW System. Collectively, we have experienced much smaller cuts in the past and are aware of the negative impacts cuts have on student educational experiences and opportunities. Faculty and staff at UW-Green Bay in the past have worked hard to establish a highly recognized university. This level of dedication is now carried on by current faculty and staff. http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/opinion/readers/2015/03/19/budget-cuts-will-leave-scars-uw-campuses/25034081/

Friday, March 27, 2015

RCC prepares for possibility of deep budget cuts - Robesonian

We know there are plenty of employees at Robeson Community College who are worried about their future employment. Several told us so — even if not on the record. It wasn’t long after the employees met with college President Pamela Hilbert on Monday that we began receiving messages expressing their concerns, that they had been told about 25 10-month employees, all instructors, might have to be placed on a nine-month schedule because of possible state budget cuts. They felt picked on because only 10-month employees were being affected, and not 12-month and nine-month employees. Additionally, according to Hilbert, unfilled positions will remain that way, some internal services eliminated and there will be funding cuts for equipment and supplies. http://www.robesonian.com/news/editorial-opinion/152434739/RCC-prepares-for-possibility-of-deep-budget-cuts

Area college presidents press for more state funding - Jay Tokasz, Buffalo News

SUNY Buffalo State wants to ease its dormitory space crunch by converting two buildings that house offices and classrooms back into dormitories, as they originally were designed. While the college has a plan, it doesn’t have the money. Rising employee costs and decreasing state support left the SUNY Fredonia with a $60,000 deficit this year. The University at Buffalo estimates it will need $500 million over the next five years to bring old buildings on South Campus and North Campus up to speed. And at Erie Community College, which is experiencing declining enrollment, administrators worry they may have to make budget cuts without a significant bump in state aid. Leaders from community colleges and State University of New York campuses in Western New York urged state legislators Thursday to increase spending on higher education. http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/higher-education/area-college-presidents-press-for-more-state-funding-20150319

Budget U of S gives up $20 million - JANET FRENCH, THE STARPHOENIX

The University of Saskatchewan has agreed to hold back spending on some projects to ease strain on provincial coffers this year. The University of Saskatchewan has agreed to take a one-year, $20-million hit to help balance the province's budget. While universities and technical colleges across the province received one-and two-per-cent increases in provincial government funding, the U of S has agreed to hold back spending on some projects to ease the strain on provincial coffers. "We won't be able to do this again another year without having major damage," university interim President Gordon Barnhart said. http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/Budget+gives+million/10901976/story.html

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Schools Plan Massive Layoffs After Scott Walker Guts Funding - ALICE OLLSTEIN, Think Progress

This week, Wisconsin kicked off a series of hearings on Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget, which would slash about $300 million from the University of Wisconsin system over two years, funnel hundreds of millions to build a pro-basketball stadium, and cut deeply from funds for health care, food stamps and public media. College campuses across the state are already preparing for the worst. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/03/18/3634306/students-teachers-brace-scott-walkers-devastating-education-cuts/

Balancing the Budget on the Backs of Pell Students Limits College Affordability - John Sandman, MainStreet

Pell Grants will go under the knife if the House of Representative's version of the Republican budget that was introduced on Tuesday becomes law. The GOP wants to whack federal spending by about $5.5 trillion during the next decade. Cuts would not kick in until October 1, the start of the 2016 fiscal year, but it would influence spending priorities for the rest of the decade and likely beyond. Changes to Pell Grants would make this grant program "permanently sustainable" according to the budget, and "serve students today and in the future." http://www.mainstreet.com/article/balancing-the-budget-on-the-backs-of-pell-students-limits-college-affordability

Kansas Regents denounce Senate budget proposal -Peter Hancock, LJWorld

Kansas Board of Regents members and other higher education officials expressed outrage Wednesday at a higher education budget proposal now before the Senate Ways and Means Committee that shifts millions of dollars in funding between two of Kansas University's campuses and makes direct cuts to Kansas State University. That plan, which was approved last week by the panel's education subcommittee, shifts $9.4 million over two years from Kansas University's Lawrence campus to the KU Medical Center campus in Wichita to increase the number of doctors who can take all four years of medical school there. It also cuts $2.1 million from Kansas State's budget in the fiscal year beginning July 1. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2015/mar/11/regents-denounce-senate-budget-proposal/

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WI and IL facing similar budget cuts - Reggie Parson, Advance Titan

It is not just Wisconsin reducing funding to higher education in the the Midwest. The neighboring state of Illinois and its newly elected Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is proposing to the Illinois General Assembly a reduction of nearly $400 million in spending to universities in the state’s 2016 budget. But these proposed cuts must first pass through the Democratic majority General Assembly. According to the Northwest Herald, in preparation for the potentially massive cuts, universities such as Northern Illinois University are looking for alternative sources to funding, such as federal grants. They will face a potential $29 million reduction in state appropriations and are considering reducing their staff and restructuring programs. http://www.advancetitan.com/opinion/columnists/article_eeef87ce-c86c-11e4-b33d-bbefc64b1e50.html

CSCU’s projected budget shortfall jumps - JACQUELINE RABE THOMAS, CT Mirror

The projected budget deficit facing the state’s community colleges and regional Connecticut State Universities is growing. The $38 million shortfall projected two weeks ago has grown to $48 million – a 4 percent structural deficit from what is needed to continue providing existing programs and staffing levels, school leaders said. “Our budget has gotten substantially worse,” Gregory Gray, president of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) told the legislature’s budget-writing committee Monday. And that shortfall could easily grow. http://ctmirror.org/2015/03/11/deficit-swells-at-connecticut-state-universities-community-colleges/

UW-L looking to cut vacant positions, grow enrollment to bridge budget cuts - Nathan Hansen, Lacrosse Tribune

No layoffs and no outsourcing. That was the message University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow told the campus community at a forum Tuesday to discuss the impacts of a proposed $300 million funding cut to the UW System. UW-L’s portion of those cuts would be about $8 million. Instead of laying off employees or cutting programs, the university is working on a three-part strategy to balance the budget. http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/uw-l-looking-to-cut-vacant-positions-grow-enrollment-to/article_b6b158f8-c1e3-5133-bd30-6e6d16b9460d.html