Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coalition of 114 education groups: Ryan 2015 budget would ‘devastate’ schools - VALERIE STRAUSS, Washington Post

The 2015 budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan’s House Budget Committee would “devastate funding for education and make college less affordable,” a coalition of 114 national education associations and institutions charged in an open letter sent to the panel. The Ryan budget would, according to this story by my Post colleague, Ed O’Keefe, cut more than $5 trillion in federal spending over the next decade, primarily by slashing social programs and essentially repealing President Obama’s health care program. The non-profit Committee for Education Funding said in the letter (see link below) that if the budget proposal were to actually become law it would “cause irreparable harm to children, students, schools, libraries, museums and colleges and will undermine job creation, economic growth and global competitiveness http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/04/08/coalition-of-114-education-groups-ryan-2015-budget-would-devastate-schools/

SC State University diverted $6.5 million from program to cover deficits, report finds - ANDREW SHAIN, the State

S.C. State University used $6.5 million in state money from a program meant to aid poorer families to cover cash flow problems since 2007, an S.C. Inspector General report released on Tuesday. No fraud was found in the money diverted from the school's 1890 Research & Extension Program, the report said. "Rather, the (Inspector General) identified a pattern of mismanagement allowing this inappropriate subsidizing practice to escalate out of control masking SCSU's financial difficulties for a number of years," the report said. "This practice has only worsened SCSU’s financial situation by allowing deficits to grow while delaying action to address structural business issues causing these deficits." Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/04/08/3374946/inspector-general-sc-state-university.html?sp=/99/205/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy http://www.thestate.com/2014/04/08/3374946/inspector-general-sc-state-university.html

University merger compromise passes SC committee - Associated Press

The House budget-writing committee advanced a bill on Tuesday to create a research university within the College of Charleston. The Ways and Means Committee approved the compromise. An earlier version would have forced a merger between the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina. The amended bill now would keep them as separate entities that collaborate to offer doctoral degrees underneath the larger moniker of the University of Charleston, South Carolina. The University of Charleston, South Carolina would not be allowed to duplicate any degree programs offered in the Charleston region. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/8/university-merger-compromise-passes-sc-committee/

Monday, April 14, 2014

Editorial: NMSU budget rightly incentivizes graduation - Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board

New Mexico State University has taken a page from UNM’s last budget, financing faculty pay raises by linking students’ wallets to full course loads that will get them graduated in four years. That’s smart – graduating students on time should be the real bottom line of every university. UNM set that tone last April, when it scrapped the block model where students taking 12 to 18 credit hours a semester were considered full time and paid a set amount in tuition and fees. It moved to a system in which students taking fewer than 15 credit hours paid a higher rate than those taking 15 hours or more, in great part because just 15 percent of UNM students were graduating in four years and 46 percent in six. http://www.abqjournal.com/380994

Ohio Labor Group Blasts College-Athlete Amendment - The Associated Press

A labor organization in Ohio is questioning a change made to a state budget bill that clarifies that college athletes are not employees under state law. The move by a House committee comes after last month's landmark decision by a National Labor Relations Board official involving the Northwestern University football team. The ruling says full scholarship players can be considered employees and thus can form a union. If the ruling holds up, it could have widespread repercussions in the multibillion-dollar college sports industry. http://www.wsaz.com/sports/headlines/Ohio-Budget-Bill-Says-College-Athletes-are-Not-Employees-254246691.html

Shrinking as a Strategy - Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed

After surveying the fate of small private liberal arts colleges, Saint Michael's College in Vermont is now planning ahead for enrollment declines, inexpensive online classes for credit and debt-averse students and families. College officials say they now have a way to keep the college sustainable by making it smaller. Even though enrollment is steady and there’s been a budget surplus each of the past six years, Saint Michael’s is planning to enroll 10 to 15 percent fewer students over the next three to four years and, in turn, employ about 10 percent fewer faculty and staff members. Saint Michael’s is also adding a summer online program for students from elsewhere that will start to rely on content from online courses to help lower costs. The summer program could eventually help students graduate in three years. “It’s pretty clear that you have to get some productivity out of small liberal arts colleges or else they are simply going to price themselves out of existence,” Neuhauser said. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/09/vermont-liberal-arts-college-expecting-things-will-get-bad

Sunday, April 13, 2014

College-Readiness Not Keeping Up In California - Associated Press

Fewer than 4 in 10 California high school students are completing the requirements to be eligible for the state’s public universities, fueling worries of a shortage of college-educated workers when the value of a bachelor’s degree has never been higher. To meet entrance requirements, high school students must complete 15 classes with a grade of C or better, including foreign language, lab science, intermediate algebra, and visual or performing arts. At the current rate, educators and policy experts say, far too few students are finishing high school with the minimum coursework needed even to apply to a University of California or California State University campus. Once students who drop out or do not finish high school in four years are removed from the equation, the proportion of public high school graduates who met the UC and CSU entrance criteria in 2012 drops to 30 percent statewide, 20 percent for Latinos and 18 percent for African-Americans, Rogers said. http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/04/05/college-readiness-not-keeping-up-in-california/

More parents are defaulting on college loans for their children, costing taxpayers - Flagler Live

Parents are increasingly struggling to repay federal loans they’ve taken out to help cover their children’s college costs, according to newly released federal data. The Parent Plus program allows parents to take out essentially uncapped amounts to cover college costs, regardless of the borrower’s income or ability to repay the loan. As the cost of college has risen, the program has become an increasingly critical workaround for families that max out on federal student loans and can’t pay the rest out of pocket. The data shows that default rates, while still modest, have nearly tripled over the last four years. About five percent of loans originated in fiscal year 2010 were in default three years later. The default rate at for-profit colleges is much higher, at 13 percent. http://flaglerlive.com/65756/college-loan-defaults/

Has Higher Ed Peaked? - Bryan Alexander, Inside Higher Ed

All of this is a thought experiment, not a prediction of a likely or desired future. The peak model may founder on emerging developments, such as a popular resurgence in support for higher education, or the appearance of hitherto unused cost cutting measures or a major growth in nontraditional age enrollments. Instead of a major peak, the data touched on in this article could represent only a blip or hiccup in a continuing story of American higher education’s growth. But until such developments emerge, we should consider the peak higher education explanation of real data and present trendlines. It is, at least, a provocation to get us thinking about campus strategy in new, if darker ways. http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2014/04/07/essay-considers-whether-higher-education-us-has-peaked

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Is It Time To Dismantle the Lecture Hall? - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

In this debate, the question might not be so much about whether online education is effective, but whether it could be any worse than the existing model. Before the debate — titled, "More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall is Obsolete" — began, the audience was definitely on the side of tradition. Fifty-nine percent were against the motion; 18 percent were for the motion; and 23 percent were undecided. Before the debate — titled, "More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall is Obsolete" — began, the audience was definitely on the side of tradition. Fifty-nine percent were against the motion; 18 percent were for the motion; and 23 percent were undecided. People pondering the fate of higher education, concluded Nelson, "don't need much more data than that to realize that the future of the university won't be without bricks, won't be all clicks, but will certainly be far more clicks than bricks." By the end of the debate, the number of people who agreed with Nelson and Agarwal grew from 18 percent to 44 percent. And the motion carried. http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/04/03/is-it-time-to-dismantle-the-lecture-hall.aspx

College degree gender gap widens with younger Gen Xers, study find - Fox News

A federal survey of about 9,000 young men and women born during the years 1980 to 1984 shows a big disparity when it comes to higher education, with women a third more likely to have received a bachelor's degree by age 27. At 27 years of age, 32 percent of women had received a bachelor’s degree, compared to 24 percent of men, and by the same age, some 70 percent of women had at least attended some college, compared to 61 percent of men. Digging deeper into the numbers, the survey found that once students enroll in college, women are more likely to don a cap and gown. Of the 70 percent of women who started college, 46 percent completed their bachelor’s degree by age 27. In comparison, of the 61 percent of men who started college, just 39 percent had completed their bachelor’s degree. As part of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, researchers for the Bureau of Labor Statistics have been tracking the 9,000 respondents for years. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/03/college-degree-gender-gap-widens-with-younger-gen-xers/

Collateral Damage - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

Students at a community college in rural Texas may lose access to federal aid because of a student-loan default measure Congress expanded mostly to keep an eye on for-profit institutions. Frank Phillips College is among several two-year colleges whose leaders are worried about how their institutions will fare with this fall’s release of the first batch of sanction-bearing numbers under the revised federal-loan default rate. The U.S. Department of Education now tracks defaults among federal loan recipients for three years after they leave college. Two-year rates had previously been the standard. But the U.S. Congress inserted the expanded “cohort default rates” into the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which is the law that governs federal financial aid. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/03/online-education-provider-2u-disband-semester-online-consortium

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Thorny Politics of Higher Education Reform - Andrew Kelly, Forbes

The basic argument: college is simultaneously more expensive, less valuable, and more important than ever before. What families need is a more robust set of postsecondary options to choose from, meaning we should focus reform energy on the supply-side of higher education. Lowering barriers to entry and leveling the playing field can free entrepreneurs to build offerings that better suit students’ needs. While Americans still believe a college education is necessary, they are increasingly skeptical that it’s worth the money. If the public turns on colleges, legislators will have more to gain from supporting higher education reform. Ironically, continued protection of an unsustainable status quo in the short-term may only raise the long-term prospects for change. The politics of education change slowly, but they do change eventually. http://www.forbes.com/sites/akelly/2014/03/31/the-thorny-politics-of-higher-education-reform/

Performance funding for higher education moves forward - RUDI KELLER, Columbia Missouri Tribune

A proposal to substitute performance measures for political power in the distribution of higher education funds moved a step closer to becoming law Tuesday with a quick and friendly hearing in the House Higher Education Committee. There are unresolved issues on the proposal, which has passed with variations in both chambers. The committee held a hearing on the Senate version, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, which excludes community colleges from the performance distribution and requires legislative review of changes in the performance standards. http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/politics/performance-funding-for-higher-education-moves-forward/article_5805dfbc-b9c6-11e3-a673-10604b9f6eda.html

UMUC to lay off 70 amid declining enrollments - Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun

The University of Maryland University College announced Friday that it would lay off 70 employees — the latest problem to hit the school that caters to nontraditional students, including members of the military, the federal government and working adults. The layoffs, which began earlier this week, come as declining enrollments have triggered a loss of revenue. They will affect staff "across the board" in departments at the Adelphi and Largo campuses but not faculty members, UMUC spokesman Bob Ludwig said. The university employs about 2,000 in the U.S. Ludwig said the college is facing a $25 million shortfall in the fiscal year that began last summer. The number of students at the college is expected to decline 6.5 percent in the fall semester. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-umuc-layoffs-20140328,0,4709420.story#ixzz2xYsYxMFq

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Costs increasing for new WIU students - Gatehouse Media Illinois

It will cost new undergraduate and graduate students more to attend Western Illinois University in the fall. The WIU board of trustees approved tuition, room and board and fee increases on Friday. The increase totals 2.99 percent for new undergraduates and 2.97 percent for new graduate students on the Macomb campus. New students on the Quad Cities campus will see an all-costs increase of 2.72 percent. Health insurance will increase for all WIU students starting Aug. 1, rising from $413 to $467 per half year or $934 per full year. http://www.pjstar.com/article/20140331/NEWS/140339917/10924/NEWS

Tennessee budget shortfall creates problems for higher education - the Mountain Press

Gov. Bill Haslam has announced some big initiatives over the past year when it comes to higher education. With the launch of the Drive to 55 program, Haslam laid out his plans to essentially make two years of community college free for students. It’s part of the larger effort to bring the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by the year 2025. But Friday, Tennesseans learned of a new potential roadblock in achieving that goal. The Associated Press reported that members of the Tennessee Board of Regents are concerned that a shortfall in state tax collections will negatively impact the amount of funding for the state’s colleges and universities. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said the $260 million general fund revenue gap could force Tennessee to cancel planned pay raises for state employees and reduce discussed spending on higher education. http://www.themountainpress.com/opinion/x1548111918/Budget-shortfall-creates-problems-for-higher-education

NIU to cut budget amid state funding concerns - Kelly Bauer, Northern Star

NIU will look to make up a potential $11.6 million funding cut from the state by “increas[ing] our efficiencies and our processes,” said NIU President Doug Baker. The 12.5 percent funding cut is not certain, but it would be the result if legislators don’t accept the state budget Gov. Pat Quinn proposed during a Wednesday speech. Quinn recommended the continuation of an income tax increase to avoid such cuts, but the university can’t wait on a final decision from the Legislature as NIU develops its FY2015 budget. “We just don’t know what’s actually going to happen, but we will in a couple months,” Baker said. http://northernstar.info/campus/article_f8b4f31c-b877-11e3-82ca-001a4bcf6878.html

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Protesters rally against proposed book-linked budget cuts at the College of Charleston - Christina Elmore, Post and Courier

A mix of students, faculty and community members comprised the 200 people who gathered at the school's Cistern Yard to express their outrage at proposed budget cuts to the College of Charleston and USC Upstate. The school was targeted for proposed budget cuts after selecting the book, which contained homosexual themes, as required reading for incoming freshmen. The state schools were targeted for the cuts for assigning books with homosexual themes as freshmen reading assignments. A few attendees took the opportunity to denounce the recent hiring of Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell as the school's next president. Though the day's focus always returned to the issue of equality. http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140329/PC16/140329274/1006/protesters-rally-against-proposed-book-linked-budget-cuts-c-of-c

Security under-staffed due to university budget - Soha Khan, the Drury Mirror

There have been several budget cuts made throughout different departments on campus and the Drury Safety and Security department is no exception. The idea of there being cuts made in this department may incite some concern among the student body, but as clarified by the Director of Safety and Security Sarene Deeds,”There aren’t any changes. We are just short staffed like many other departments on campus.” Currently the security department is short three security officers. Although these are the only consequences of the budget cuts, they may have some implications on the security of students on campus. Being short-staffed means that there will be only one officer on duty per shift in most cases. Therefore, students may have to wait longer than usual to receive help if they lock themselves out or if they call security in case of any suspicious activity. http://drurymirror.org/2014/03/28/security-under-staffed-due-to-university-budget-cuts/

UMaine Talks Budget at Public Forum - Morgan Sturdivant, WABI

Around 500 people showed up for two public forums to talk money. UMaine officials discussed their budget for next fiscal year, which has a $10-million shortfall. “It’s been a very deliberative and intense time to work to balance the budget, but I think that the thoughtfulness and the collegiality and the input that we’ve been getting across the campus in terms of the strategies going forward will really serve our students and the state well,” said Janet Waldron, Senior Vice President and Finance and Administration. University officials say they’re not cutting faculty or programs. “We’ve worked really hard to minimize the impact on our employees, and again, no faculty layoffs, retrenchment at all. To the contrary, we’re investing back clearly in the academic area. The professional and classified will see some layoffs, but we’re still working to minimize that and we’re hoping not to have any more than seven layoffs,” said Waldron. http://wabi.tv/2014/03/28/umaine-talks-budget-public-forum/