Sunday, September 24, 2017

Universities losing leaders - Jim Beam, American Press

Devastating state budget cuts during seven of former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s eight years in office continue to take a heavy toll on Louisiana’s higher education system. The second university president to throw in the towel this year announced Thursday he was resigning after only four years on the job. Bruce T. Murphy, who had a successful run as head of Nicholls State University, said he plans to engage in “other strategic initiatives in higher education.” Mark Ballard, editor in charge of The Advocate’s Capital Bureau, who apparently wanted more information, said Murphy did not return three phone calls Thursday. Ballard noted that enrollment was growing at Nicholls, and Murphy helped it re-establish full accreditation during his short tenure. However, he added that the Legislature has reduced state appropriations to Nicholls to the point that it was sending more money back to Baton Rouge than it received from the state. More on that later.

New Connecticut State Budget threatens “Elimination of Many Division I Athletics Programs” There could be drastic cuts coming to UConn. - Daniel Connolly, UConn Blog

Overnight, both houses of the Connecticut General Assembly approved a new state budget. If it goes through (Which, luckily, seems unlikely), UConn would lose $300 million in funding over the next two years, which would “decimate the university” according to President Susan Herbst. Major cuts would need to be made, including the “Elimination of many Division I Athletics programs.” It’s no secret the athletic department has been struggling for money ever since joining the American Athletic Conference, an issue compounded by the Big East exit money drying up as well as Bob Diaco’s buyout.

University of Alaska students may see 10 percent tuition hike over next two years - Adelyn Baxter, KTOO

University of Alaska officials are considering a 5 percent tuition increase in each of the next two academic years. UA has seen its tuition steadily increase over the last several years, including a 5 percent increase last year. Colby Freel chairs the Coalition of Student Leaders. He said increases like this have become an expectation for UA students, but that they understand the strain the state and university are under. “We want our education here in Alaska, we want to receive the quality learning that we get, so we’re willing to pay for it,” Freel said. The university has seen state funding decline by $61 million since 2014 and enrollment drop by 14 percent since 2011. Among the austerity measures, the university has cut about 50 academic programs and reduced faculty and staff by more than 900 positions.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Penn State Tables Executive Raises in Midst of State Budget Stalemate - Geoff Rushton, State College

Penn State's Board of Trustees was slated to vote Friday on potential pay increases for university President Eric Barron and other senior executives. It will wait for another day. Trustee Matthew Schuyler said at Friday's board meeting that Barron asked the Committee on Compensation to take no action on executive salaries while the state legislature has yet to approve an appropriation bill for Penn State and other state-related universities for the current fiscal year. The Commonwealth passed a general spending bill in July, but did not pass a revenue bill or the appropriations bills for state-related universities and some other entities. The state house passed a spending bill on Wednesday but has been at odds with the senate and governor since the summer.,1473766/

Keene State College interim president details difficult spending-cut process - PAUL CUNO-BOOTH, Sentinel

After a weeks-long review process that led to $7.5 million in cuts, Keene State College received a finalized budget Friday. Departments began the fall semester a few weeks ago without final budgets, a situation several faculty members described as a first. In an interview Friday afternoon with The Sentinel’s editorial board, Interim President Melinda Treadwell characterized the delay as a rip-the-Band-Aid-off approach preferable to multiple rounds of cost-cutting.

UConn says approved state budget would be ‘devastating’- Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post

A budget approved early Saturday by the state Legislature would decimate the state’s flagship university, its president said. UConn President Susan Herbst sent out a message to the university community saying the approved state budget would cut UConn and UConn Health by $309 million over the next two years — $185 million for UConn and its campuses and $124 million for UConn Health. “The level of the cut is unprecedented and would be devastating for UConn, higher education in Connecticut and the state as a whole,” the message said. The cut is but just one component in a $40 billion budget Republican lawmakers managed to get past both the Senate and then the House with the help of Democrats unhappy with any of the options presented to them.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Regents adopt campus budgets, but anticipate cut in state support - KEILA SZPALLER, Missoulian

The Montana Board of Regents adopted campus operating budgets Thursday totaling roughly $1.55 billion for the 2018 fiscal year, but they likely will return to the budgets in November to address a cut in state support of up to 10 percent. "We're getting a lot of feedback and certainly warranted concerns about where this budget is headed and how budget reductions may impact us," said Commissioner Clayton Christian. He said the regents will reconvene after the state certifies revenue projections, and the governor's office determines the amount it aims to cut.

UWSP may cut majors to meet budget needs - Mimi Mitrovic, WAOW

Budget cuts in the UW school system is causing universities to eliminate majors and minors from their programs. UW-Stevens Point is in the works of transforming their science department. The university will no longer hold majors in geography and geology. Interim Dean of the College of Letters and Science Eric Yonke said they have to down size in the college because of low enrollment. "Even though we're down sizing," said Yonke. "The main goal is we're pushing out some new programs," said Yonke.

NU outlines another $4M in budget cuts - CHRIS DUNKER, Lincoln Journal Star

The University of Nebraska added another $4 million worth of items to its running list of proposed budget cuts Tuesday as it seeks to close a shortfall of $49 million. The announcement included more than 70 specific items across eight nonacademic areas — primarily travel, public relations, printing and financial operations — to be implemented in coming months NU announced $25 million in potential cuts last month. Perhaps the biggest proposal unveiled Tuesday is a 90 percent reduction in reimbursements for cellphone and internet use by university employees. That move alone is expected to create $1.1 million in savings, said NU spokeswoman Melissa Lee said.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Long Beach City College takes $8.8 million from reserves to fund budget - Andrew Edwards, Press-Telegram

Long Beach Community College District trustees unanimously approved a final budget that calls for nearly $139 million in general fund spending for its current budget year. The newly-approved budget also calls for community college officials to dip into nearly $8.8 million worth of reserves to balance the books, which would leave the district with a projected $21.7 million fund balance at the end of its budget year.

Rethinking Education for 21st Century Careers - Lauren Cuzzaniti,  Coursera Blog

College can be an incredibly valuable experience. At its best, college is a place that teaches you to work well with others, challenges you to think critically, and gives you the skills you need to embark on a career. Unfortunately, not all college graduates have that experience. And while it’s universally recognized that college is no longer the ticket to a secure future it once was — the proportion of college graduates has tripled since 1970 (11% to 33.4%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau)–what is troubling is that not only are students not getting the job outcomes, but they also are not getting the skills they should from higher education.

Five state-related colleges waiting on funding - Ryanne Persinger, Philadelphia Tribune

If the state’s looming $2 billion budget gap in its general fund is not finalized by Friday, there will be no money for Pennsylvania agencies to pay for some of their obligations. Gov. Tom Wolf said previously that without a resolution, it could put the state in a dire financial situation. The House of Representatives returned to session on Monday. The Senate returns on Sept. 18. Among the entities that could be affected include school districts and five state-related universities, including Temple University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Lincoln University, a historically Black college located outside of the city.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Falling public university enrollment shows effects of state budget impasse - Dawn Rhodes, Chicago Tribune

Enrollment at many of Illinois' state public universities dropped this year, particularly among new freshmen wrestling with where to commit for their college educations, data released this month show. Many university leaders have pointed to the unprecedented budget battles in Springfield, which starved public universities of state funding, as a critical factor in the declines. Illinois had operated without a budget since July 2015 until the Democratic-controlled General Assembly overrode Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a spending plan and tax increase on July 6. But by then, many students had already decided where to attend college. And for many, it wasn't in the state university system. "I don't think there's any question there's a connection," said Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in Washington, D.C. "The state funding situation was in the papers every day for months and months. It goes to public confidence in the institutions."

MSUB's share of state budget woes to be determined - MATT HUDSON, Billings Gazette

The Montana Board of Regents isn't expected to pass additional, state-mandated budget cuts when it meets this week in Butte. But through the fall, the Montana University System will have to determine how to reduce its contribution to colleges and universities by $16.9 million during the current fiscal year. The reduction could be $17 million next year. It amounts to a 10-percent cut, which other state departments are also planning. With discussions about tuition rates forthcoming, it's unclear yet if each college or university will be subject to a full 10-percent reduction in its state appropriations.

School year starts with budget cuts, layoffs - Kyly Clark, Eagle's Eye

Deep cuts designed to balance Sierra Nevada College’s budget were handed down just weeks before the start of fall semester, leaving six full-time faculty members jobless and crippling the humanities and art departments. The cuts were delivered alongside operating budget, athletics, and other staffing reductions to the tune of nearly $1.4 million. In the wake of the layoffs, at least two of the professors, SNC Faculty Council chair Samantha Bankston and council vice-chair Dan Aalbers, claim their jobs were terminated as political retribution for criticizing administrative decision-making and attempting to unionize the college’s academic workforce. SNC Tahoe administrative leadership rebut the charges, holding steadfast that staff reductions were a necessary, “data-driven” decision, designed to have minimal negative impact on current and future students.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Report shows impact of budget impasse on colleges - Brandon Richard, WSIL

In a new report, researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, blame a lack of state leadership for causing "disproportionate and lasting consequences" for universities like SIU. They say it led to more than 72,000 fewer students enrolling in Illinois colleges and about 7,500 jobs losses. Researchers say the strain from the budget impasse also cost the state's economy nearly $1 billion per year, including more than $30 million in Southern Illinois. The impasse forced schools to make more than $600-million dollars in cuts. As a result, of the schools raised tuition, cut programs, and laid off workers.

Colorado’s hot property values are triggering tax cuts — and one local college is scrambling to offset the loss - Brian Eason, Denver Post

“We are certainly the largest (taxing) district that has made such an attempt,” said Glenn Davis, president of CMC’s Board of Trustees. “The concern that we’re all wrestling with at the moment is that … there may be a day where there’s no choice but to start raising tuition to cover the impacts that Gallagher might be creating.” Adopted in 1982, the constitutional provision known as Gallagher was designed to limit the tax burden of homeowners by requiring that businesses pay at least 55 percent of property taxes statewide. Most of the time, it’s a nonfactor. But this year, the booming housing growth on the Front Range has pushed home values above the threshold allowed under the state constitution.

Northeast State deals with budget issues, students raise concerns - BRANDON PAYKAMIAN, Johnson City Press

Students and faculty members returning to Northeast State Community College for the 2017-18 school year have raised concerns about the effect of $5 million in budget cuts made earlier this year by the school’s administration. Announcing the cuts in July, Interim Northeast State Community College President James King said “an examination of the College’s finances shows revenues have not kept pace with expenses over the past few years, necessitating a budget realignment.” Later that month, the college laid off 28 non-faculty, full-time employees, eliminated six vacant faculty and staff positions and did not renew 19 part-time and full-time temporary positions. Personnel reduction cuts totaled $2.2 million, while the remaining $2.8 million involved operational cuts for the 2017-18 school year.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Enrollment down by five percent - Cassie Buchman, Daily Eastern

Eastern’s total enrollment has gone down from 7,415 in fall 2016 to 7,030 in fall 2017, making for a five percent decrease from last year’s numbers. This is the university’s lowest fall-to-fall headcount decline in six years. “That means (enrollment has) gone down every year in the last six years…we’re not satisfied with that,” said Eastern President David Glassman. “We see that as now we’re getting to that plateau and we can turn that around and start building higher and higher enrollments.” The total number of first-time freshman at the university is 634, with 1,178 transfer, 383 first-time graduate, 179 returning and 4,656 continuing students.

Montana state cuts could mean bigger tuition hikes at MSU, UM B-Gail Schontzler, Bozeman Chronicle

If the state of Montana ends up cutting state budgets by as much as 10 percent, that could result in the Board of Regents raising tuition next fall even more than already planned. Tyler Trevor, deputy commissioner of higher education, said Friday that the University System won’t know until the end of September how big the statewide cuts will be. Trevor said he has a strong feeling they will end up somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. For all Montana state campuses combined, a 10 percent cut would mean losing $16.9 million in this school year that just started and $17 million the year after.

Montana, broke and burning, looks at cuts to fill budget gap - MATT VOLZ, ASSOCIATED PRESS

The state university system must identify another $44 million in spending reductions. State lawmakers already slashed the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education's budget in the 2018-2019 state budget passed in April. Those previous cuts left a $19 million shortfall that resulted in tuition hikes, and Deputy Commissioner Tyler Trevor said tuition may have to go up again. It will be up to the Board of Regents to approve the cuts and tuition hikes, Trevor said. "They all will have the ability to weather the storm, it's just a matter of the tactics we take," Trevor said of the state's colleges and universities.