Friday, October 24, 2014

Vermont colleges, business groups lobby against budget cuts By MORGAN TRUE / VTDigger POSTED: 10/15/2014 04:41:40 PM EDT0 COMMENTS| UPDATED: A DAY AGO MONTPELIER -- Advocates pressed for increased state funding for higher education and business incentives, even as the governor is calling for level-funded or reduced spending across state government. Ben Johnson, president of the Vermont chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said Tuesday that the state has underfunded higher education for 35-years and the state college system is nearing the breaking point. "There's no more fat to cut," said Johnson, a librarian at Vermont Technical College. Betsy Bishop, executive director of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, asked that the state make more money available for business incentives, specifically the Vermont Training Program, which helps employers pay to teach their workers new skills.

Advocates pressed for increased state funding for higher education and business incentives, even as the governor is calling for level-funded or reduced spending across state government. Ben Johnson, president of the Vermont chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said Tuesday that the state has underfunded higher education for 35-years and the state college system is nearing the breaking point. "There's no more fat to cut," said Johnson, a librarian at Vermont Technical College. Betsy Bishop, executive director of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, asked that the state make more money available for business incentives, specifically the Vermont Training Program, which helps employers pay to teach their workers new skills. http://www.reformer.com/state/ci_26733771/vermont-colleges-business-groups-lobby-against-budget-cuts

NCI to cut budget by 5 percent - PAUL COLLINS, Martinsville Bulletin

New College Institute has received confirmation that it will be required to adhere to a state-mandated budget cut of 5 percent for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which will mean the elimination of one full-time position and the deferment of another. That will amount to $75,952 for the fiscal year that will end June 30, 2015, said Leanna Blevins, NCI’s associate director and chief academic officer. An NCI press statement Wednesday stated that in August, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a statewide budget shortfall that would require cuts to a wide range of state agencies, including those in higher education. http://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/article.cfm?ID=43830

UMaine System trustees oppose closing one of USM’s 3 campuses to solve budget woes - Nick McCrea, Bangor Daily News

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees said Wednesday that they are committed to keeping all three University of Southern Maine campuses open, the system announced in a news release. As the system weighs how to close USM’s $16 million structural gap for fiscal year 2016, the university launched a “strategic academic alignment of its programs” to close the gap and maintain affordability and student access. Last week, University of Southern Maine President David Flanagan announced a plan that would cut $6 million from the school’s budget by eliminating 50 faculty positions. http://bangordailynews.com/2014/10/15/education/umaine-system-trustees-oppose-closing-one-of-usms-3-campuses-to-solve-budget-woes/

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why one college president took a $90,000 annual pay cut - Lindsay Ellis, Christian Science Monitor

In cutting his salary by $90,000, Kentucky State University interim president Raymond Burse joins Stanford University president John Etchemendy, who cut his own salary by 10 percent in a very public way. Kentucky State cajoled Mr. Burse, who was president of the university from 1982 to 1989, back to Kentucky after he worked as a top General Electric executive. By cutting his salary to $259,744, he was able to use the money to boost the salaries of 24 university employees who earned $7.25 to $10.25 an hour, CBS reported. He has maintained that the move wasn't intended as a "publicity stunt." http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2014/1015/Why-one-college-president-took-a-90-000-annual-pay-cut

University of Maine to cut $7 million from budget - Nell Gluckman, Bangor Daily News

University of Maine departments must identify $7 million in budget cuts, although top campus administrators are pledging to tighten belts without eliminating academic programs. The announcement of the cuts to the Orono campus’s $242.2 million budget was made at a faculty and staff assembly Thursday morning and was received fairly well. UMaine President Susan Hunter told over 100 people in attendance that no academic programs will be cut, but added that it is too soon to tell whether there will be faculty or staff layoffs. https://bangordailynews.com/2014/10/16/news/bangor/university-of-maine-to-cut-7-million-from-budget-this-year/

Minerva’s Virtual College Scores Backing to Grow - Bernadette Tansey, Xconomy

The Minerva Project, a San Francisco-based for-profit that aims to provide an Ivy League-caliber college degree for $10,000 a year, says it has closed on the bulk of a $70 million Series B round that will allow it to scale up its freshman class next year. Meanwhile, competitor Udacity, through some of its new online “nanodegree” programs, is focusing on the knowledge needed by its partner companies–which include Google and AT&T—in students they hire, such as wizardry in specific technical and computer programming skills. Udacity is trying to bypass the entrenched university credentialing system by developing employer-backed academic credentials. Whatever edtech models pull ahead, traditional universities would be wise to keep watching. http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2014/10/16/minervas-virtual-college-scores-backing-to-grow/

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jobs for Humanities, Arts Grads - Kaitlin Mulhere, Inside Higher Ed

Two reports on outcomes for humanities majors could serve to reinforce two disparate beliefs about the field: one where they are seen as a viable path to a successful career, and another where they are seen as a track to a low income and few job prospects. On average, humanities majors do earn less than graduates in many other disciplines, according to the report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. But that doesn't mean they are starving artists or underemployed baristas. Another report released this week from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) out of Indiana University also showed generally positive signs for recent graduates of arts departments, who largely reported feeling prepared to continue in advanced degree programs, able to find work related to their field of study, and satisfied with their jobs. The humanities indicators report from the American Academy draws from U.S. Census data through the American Community Survey to look at the earnings of workers who studied in humanities fields. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/10/17/positive-reports-humanities-earnings-art-school-job-prospects

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Students protest university budget cuts in Costa Rica - La Prensa

Thousands of students staged a peaceful protest last Tuesday against the possible cuts to their university's budget now being debated in Congress. With music, dancing and banners reading "Public education is an investment, not an expense" and "Don't cut the future," students from all over the country demanded that Congress not trim their schools' budgets. The students marched down the main streets of San Jose, starting at the state University of Costa Rica and ending in front of the Legislative Assembly. "The budget should not be cut - just the opposite, it should be strengthened because the university is the motor of change and of social transformation in this country. It is a tool for upward mobility and for reducing unemployment and poverty," the president of the UCR Students Federation, Alejandro Madrigal, told Efe. http://www.laprensasa.com/309_america-in-english/2739688_students-protest-university-budget-cuts-in-costa-rica.html

Military's war colleges take steep budget hits - Merrill D’Arezzo, Medill News Service

As the Defense Department grapples with cutbacks across its broad budget, one of the military’s premiere war colleges is feeling the pinch, with a funding drop of 29 percent in the past few years. But some critics say that even at reduced levels, professional military education is still receiving more than enough funding. Dr. David Tretler, a professor and former dean at the National War College, said that school offers an intensive 10-month higher education training program. The courses include strategy, ethics and leadership as well as war and statecraft and non-military instruments of power, which Collins said require up to 80 hours of classwork each. But NDU’s total budget request for fiscal 2015 is $73.6 million for fiscal 2015, down by $29.4 million since 2010. http://www.navytimes.com/article/20141014/EDU/310140041/Military-s-war-colleges-take-steep-budget-hits

Departments slash budgets to make up for $20 million deficit - Mary Ellen McIntire and Colleen Murphy, GW Hatchet

Provost Steven Lerman said GW took money from the University's reserve funds to make up for a $20 million deficit it ran last year. The University will slow new staff hiring to help make up for part of the deficit. The University is cutting back. Officials looking to hire department staffers will be delayed three months, said Joseph Cordes, who leads the Faculty Senate's finance committee. GW has also cut back on new faculty hires, travel expenses and consulting fees to make up for a $20 million budget shortfall. GW had to dip into its reserves after programs needed an extra $10 million to cover surprise costs, and a graduate enrollment slump caused schools to miss out on $10 million in projected tuition revenue. “The University is currently engaging in some belt-tightening, which translates into cuts in the budgets of the schools,” Cordes said. “Delay in hiring replacements is one common way of holding budgetary expenses in line.” http://www.gwhatchet.com/2014/10/13/departments-slash-budgets-to-make-up-for-20-million-deficit/

Monday, October 20, 2014

Smallest school in Oregon's public university system struggles with enrollment, budget cuts -JADE MCDOWELL East Oregonian

Nestled in the heart of the Blue Mountains, the smallest school in Oregon's public university system would like to become less of a "hidden gem." For years, Eastern Oregon University's remote location and small class sizes have been a selling point, but these days the classes are getting a bit too small for comfort. Falling enrollment numbers have spurred budget cuts at the school, which have taken their toll in staff layoffs and discontinued majors like Geology and Media Arts. The university is fighting back by boosting recruitment efforts in the hopes of bringing those sorely needed tuition dollars back. http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/fdb9a1e5d5224fcba7b137f300a5f4ea/OR--University-Falling-Enrollment/

A Bit of College Can Be Worse Than None at All Racking Up Debt - MELISSA KORN , Wall Street Journal

Those students may find themselves doubly damned: cut out of consideration for professional-track jobs, and starting their careers years behind their peers who entered the workforce with just high-school diplomas. Many have student loans to boot. And both groups struggle to cobble together a living in their 20s. College dropouts have a lower unemployment rate than those with no college credits—12.1% versus 15.5%, respectively, for 20- to 29-year-olds—but they work almost exactly the same number of hours a week and weeks a year, according to a Drexel University Center for Labor Markets and Policy analysis of Current Population Survey data. On wages, too, young workers with some college have little advantage. There has been little or no difference in wages among 20- to 24-year-olds who graduated high school and those who completed some college but aren’t enrolled anymore. In 2011, wages for college dropouts were even lower, according to the Current Population Survey. http://online.wsj.com/articles/a-bit-of-college-can-be-worse-than-none-at-all-1413158511

Smallest school in Oregon's public university system struggles with enrollment, budget cuts - Jade Mcdowell, East Oregonian

Nestled in the heart of the Blue Mountains, the smallest school in Oregon's public university system would like to become less of a "hidden gem." For years, Eastern Oregon University's remote location and small class sizes have been a selling point, but these days the classes are getting a bit too small for comfort. Falling enrollment numbers have spurred budget cuts at the school, which have taken their toll in staff layoffs and discontinued majors like Geology and Media Arts. The university is fighting back by boosting recruitment efforts in the hopes of bringing those sorely needed tuition dollars back. http://projects.registerguard.com/apf/ore/or-university-falling-enrollment/

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Editorial: College debt cycle stalls future - A Journal News editoria

Westchester Community College has resorted to taking students to court to collect tuition in arrears; the two-year public institution had about 631 active lawsuits against former students in state Supreme Court so far this year. Rockland Community College carries almost $3.4 million in past-due tuition from its students. Those numbers, included in staff writer Ernie Garcia's report, "Student debt at WCC prompts 631 lawsuits," hint at the role of community colleges as the entry point for students with diverse backgrounds, often with needs that outstrip the colleges' resources. Our local community colleges, part of the State University of New York system, deserve the tuition owed by students. But even a modest $2,149.50 full-time tuition per semester can burden those students most in need of accessible, affordable higher education. http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/editorials/2014/10/11/editorial-community-colleges-debt-futures-stalled/17134849/

Utah's public college enrollment halting decline - LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press

Enrollment at Utah's public colleges and universities is generally steady this year and growing among Hispanic students, according to new figures released this week. The numbers were cheered by higher education leaders who have dealt with enrollment dips since the Mormon church announced new, lowered age requirements for its missionaries. "The main thing is that we're not continuing to decrease," said Dave Buhler. He heads up the Utah System of Higher Education, which reported Wednesday that the state's eight colleges and universities added the equivalent of 136 full-time students, a 0.12 percent increase over the same time last year. http://www.wral.com/utah-s-public-college-enrollment-halting-decline/14068854/

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education hopeful enrollment drop is abating - Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Leaders of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities say they are hopeful that a prolonged enrollment slide, fueled partly by declining high school graduation rates, is abating, even as newly released figures confirmed a fourth consecutive yearly loss. Total State System of Higher Education enrollment is 109,606 students this fall, 2 percent less than last year. Since peaking at 119,513 students in 2010, the system has lost 8 percent of its total full- and part-time enrollment, or 9,907 students — equal to one of the system’s larger universities. The losses are a reason the campuses are under financial strain and have realigned programs while cutting faculty and staff. http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/10/10/Pennsylvania-State-System-of-Higher-Education-hopeful-enrollment-drop-is-abating/stories/201410100091

Saturday, October 18, 2014

USM makes changes to budget after consecutive enrollment decrease - Margaret Ann Moorgan, WDAM

The University of Southern Mississippi has put a budgeting plan into place after losing approximately 2.3 million dollars in tuition due to an enrollment decrease. “As we plan for how we're going to manage the institution this year, we have to think about how we're going to live within the available revenue we have,” said USM's Vice President for Finance and Administration Dr. Douglas Vinzant. Vinzant said departments have already started making lists of things that can be cut in the budget, which will then be handed over to President Rodney Bennett and his Cabinet for review. http://www.wdam.com/story/26759162/usm-makes-changes-to-budget-after-consecutive-enrollment-decrease

VSU informs faculty and staff on budget shortfall - Amir Vera, Progress-Index

Concerned faculty and staff filled the room of Virginia State University’s Virginia Hall Thursday for a question and answer forum with university officials on budget shortfall that has resulted in nearly $18 million in cuts. “There have been a lot of questions about the budget shortfall, how we got into this situation, what we’re doing to try to get out and our plan to move forward,” said Tom Reed, director of university relations. According to a frequently asked questions handout put together by the VSU administration, changes in federal law grants, loans and other financial and federal aid services have reduced the amount of funding available for students to $3.4 million. Once these funds were no longer available, the university experienced a significant decline in student enrollment. http://www.progress-index.com/article/20141011/NEWS/141019918

University budget reform under pressure - SIMONA CHIOSE, The Globe and Mail

Ontario’s efforts to cut duplication in the university sector are moving so slowly that observers question whether schools will be able to address budget constraints, concerns about educational quality and accountability for student outcomes. Ontario signed agreements with its 44 postsecondary institutions in August that set each school’s goals until the spring of 2017 – what is supposed to be the first step in changing how universities are funded. Rather than increasing budgets based on growth in enrolment, new formulas will take into account the specific strengths of each institution. But interviews with senior university administrators involved in the talks that led to the deals reveal that most schools did not have to compromise on any of the goals set out in earlier drafts. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/university-budget-reform-under-pressure/article21074892/

Friday, October 17, 2014

Show me the money: an examination of Whitman’s finances - Lachlan Johnson, Pioneer

As the Now Is the Time campaign approaches its conclusion, the sun is setting on one financial era of the college. President Bridges came to the college in 2005 with the intent of strengthening the college’s financial position and increasing the endowment. While the last fifteen years saw a huge increase in the college’s endowment, this increase was accompanied by equally massive increases in spending by the college and skyrocketing tuition. The result is that students continue to pay roughly the same percentage of the college’s ever-expanding budget, with growth in the endowment only managing to keep pace. http://whitmanpioneer.com/news/2014/10/09/budget-article/

VSU President Explains School’s Budget Shortfall - WRIC

Virginia State University President Dr. Keith Miller met face-to-face with hundreds of students who were concerned about their school's financial situation. The administration was forced to have a meeting with students and explain to them why the university had to make budget cuts. Some students left feeling like nothing will change. "We are feeling the cuts in each direction and it's not fair to the students," says Alexis Hitchman, a senior. The university is facing an $18.9 million shortfall. The school said it lost millions in government funding. As a result, every department had to make some kind of cut to their budget. "They never considered us when it came to making decisions for the school," says Hitchman. http://www.wric.com/story/26751834/vsu-president-explains-schools-budget-shortfall