Sunday, August 2, 2015

Higher Ed Commission Joins Efforts To Reduce Student Debt - RACHEL MORELLO, Indiana Public Media

As student debt continues to climb across the country, state officials and institutions in Indiana are taking steps to help student figure out how to best manage their loans. As we’ve reported, the General Assembly passed a law during the 2015 “education session” to better inform college students about their debt load. House Enrolled Act 1042, authored by Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, requires public and private colleges and universities across the state to provide annual information to all students receiving loans, specifically those participating in the 21st Century Scholars program or receiving Frank O’Bannon scholarships – both state funded programs.

Florida officials approve performance-based funding for higher education - Brandon Larrabee - The News Service of Florida

A new performance-funding system for state colleges was approved Thursday by the State Board of Education, the latest step in Florida officials' drive to tie money for higher education to how well institutions and their students do. Board members unanimously approved the model, but some did so hesitantly, discouraged by standards that were left out of the model under legislative instructions or did not feature as prominently in the scores colleges receive because of a scarcity of data. The performance system will control how the state divvies up a total of $40 million, including $20 million of new funding for colleges and $20 million in money that colleges were already receiving. In that respect, it resembles a larger performance plan for state universities that started last year.

Our Views: Budget cuts at UW Colleges will harm mission - Gazette Extra Editorial

UW-Rock County will lose its full-time dean and six or seven other administrative positions by year's end. No one suggests that UW-Rock County in Janesville and the 12 other UW Colleges won't survive and keep offering quality education. The new state budget cuts support to the 13 colleges by $5 million, part of the $250 million UW System cut. No faculty at the two-year colleges will lose jobs, so most students won't see direct impacts. But it's na├»ve to suggest switching to regional administrators—cutting 83 full-time workers—won't hurt the colleges or that administrators are “dead weight.”

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Budget deficit may shutter popular University of Akron performing arts series bug - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The University of Akron says a budget deficit is forcing it out of the concert promotion business, jeopardizing a popular performing arts series. At stake are programs such as the Broadway in Akron series at the school's E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. Lawrence Burns, the university's Vice President for Advancement, tells the Akron Beacon Journal for a story Monday ( ) the nearly 3,000 seat venue isn't closing but its role in the local arts community is changing. Burns says the hall will still be open to academic programs and available to rent.

Gov. Baker taking heat for some of his budget vetoes - STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan also said he was disappointed by a veto that reduced funding for the five-campus UMass system from the $531.8 million approved by a House-Senate conference committee to $526.6 million. Democrats were quick to tweak Baker on the timing of his trip to Colorado, coming right after the vetoes. “Instead of hobnobbing with Republican presidential candidates at an exclusive Colorado confab, Republican Baker should be in Massachusetts answering” for his cuts, said Massachusetts Democratic Party spokesman Pat Beaudry. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg was also less than thrilled. The Amherst Democrat put out a statement after Baker signed the budget saying he had serious concerns about many of the Baker’s vetoes, particularly related to education, where Baker trimmed programs ranging from early childhood to colleges and universities.

CSU funding and enrollment decisions out of sync, leaving students, faculty hanging in the balance - Josh Dulaney, Long Beach Press Telegram

By September, finance officers present to CSU trustees a plan for the fiscal year ahead. A budget request is approved by trustees in November and sent to the governor’s office ahead of his January proposal. But while trustees are tinkering with the budget from summer to fall, applications for CSU pour into the system as campuses set enrollment targets, chisel out class schedules and make financial aid decisions. All without a state budget in place. It’s a high-wire act with consequences for students. From fall 2010 to fall 2013, between 20,000 and 30,000 qualified first-time freshmen were turned away each year from CSU schools as the state recovered from the Great Recession.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Green River College cuts two programs, still faces budget woes - HEIDI SANDERS, Kent Reporter

Mark Millbauer, Green River College’s auto body program head and Union Faculty president, is upset about his program’s demise and concerned about how his students will transfer to continue their education. Two Green River College programs will be shut down in a cost-saving effort, and more cuts could follow as the college faces a $2.5 million to $3.5 million budget deficit. College officials announced on July 15 the elimination of auto body technology and geographic information systems, while carpentry, which had also been on the chopping block, will continue to operate. As a result of the program cuts, two full-time instructors – one from auto body and one from geographic information systems – will lose their jobs.

University of Wisconsin Superior reacts to statewide budget cuts to UW system - Northlands

While a $250 million hit to the University of Wisconsin (UW) system is painful, leaders say it is better than the original $300 million cut that had been planned. There are 26 colleges and universities included in the UW system. The University of Wisconsin (UW) Superior will see an $850,000 cut.

Budget cuts force John Abbott College to re-prioritize costly renovation projects - Anthony Abbondanza, Chronicle

Facing $1.5 million in budgets cuts from the Quebec government to their $60 million operating budget, John Abbott College officials must now prioritize renovation projects planned for the future, the Chronicle has learned. The West Island-based institution typically runs a yearly surplus of about $2 million, some of which is transferred to a reserve earmarked for renovation projects. Since posting a surplus in excess of $500,000 in future budgets becomes less of a reality, said Debbie Cribb, the school’s communication coordinator, John Abbott College will prioritize renovating student spaces and most likely drop or postponed the renovation of non-pedagogical offices.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Budget impasse puts NIU's Stevens Building construction on hold - Rhonda Gillespie, Daily Chronicle

The $27.4 million Stevens Building project has come to a grinding halt on the Northern Illinois University campus, another casualty of the state budget impasse. Work stopped June 30.

U of Wisconsin Colleges to Cut and Consolidate Administrative Jobs - Inside Higher Ed

The University of Wisconsin Colleges, a system of 13 two-year college campuses, on Tuesday announced it would consolidate the leadership jobs for those campuses into four regions, with a single executive officer for each region. Those four leaders will replace the current 13 top posts at the campuses. The system said it was eliminating the equivalent of 83 full-time administrative positions to cope with its $5 million share of the $125 million state budget cut to the University of Wisconsin System. Another $125 million cut is slated for next year. The UW Colleges, which enroll 14,000 students, will not eliminate any faculty positions, the system said in a news release.

UMaine System facing $16 million operating loss - NOEL K. GALLAGHER, Press Herald

The University of Maine System faces a $16 million operating loss for the $519 million budget year that ended in June, largely because of $11 million in new retirement and severance costs, the system’s top financial officer told the board of trustees Monday. Until the end of the school year, system officials didn’t know how many employees would retire and take advantage of special retirement incentives, said Rebecca Wyke, the vice chancellor for finance and administration. The system also saw a year-end $3.5 million loss in one of its investment funds. The system will balance the budget by taking additional funds from a budget stabilization fund, some campus reserves and drawing down the system’s insurance benefit pool.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

LSU athletic department transfers $10.05 million to the university’s academic fund, nearly $3 million more than required - SCOTT RABALAIS, the Advocate

The LSU athletic department announced Monday that it will transfer $10.05 million to the university’s academic fund this year, nearly $3 million more than is required by the school’s Athletics Fund Transfer Policy. The policy went into effect in 2012, guaranteeing a $7.2 million payment from LSU’s athletic department to academics, plus a portion of any surplus the athletic department may end up with each fiscal year. “This surplus comes on the heels of an extremely challenging budget year, and the real beneficiaries will be our students,” LSU President F. King Alexander said in a news release. “Few athletic departments across the country have the capacity to give back to their university the way ours does, and we appreciate their deep commitment to all our students.”

University Stops Energy Projects to Balance its Budget - Linda Hardesty, Energy Manager Today

Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailShare on printMore Sharing Services The University of Iowa halted three energy upgrade projects due to budget concerns, reports The Gazette. College finance executives said the projects would have prevented them from balancing their budget appropriately. Energy efficiency upgrades will not be moving forward at the Lindquist Center, the Carver Biomedical Research Building, and the Biology Building. The university is proceeding with two energy conservation projects this summer: the Hardin Library for Health Sciences and the Medical Education Building.

Illinois budget woes delay Rock Valley College's classroom remodel - Kevin Haas. Rockford Register Star

State budget woes have set back Rock Valley College's plan to remodel classrooms. It will keep students out of the new space for at least two more years. Rock Valley closed Classroom Building I in August 2013 to make preparations to build seven 40-seat classrooms, providing larger space for instructors and students. The building was gutted in May 2014, leaving the cement base and a few lights strung overhead. It's sat that way ever since. The college bid the project this year, but that was halted by the state in April. College officials anticipate that the fall 2016 reopening of the building will be pushed back to at least fall 2017.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

University of Akron supporters are being urged to attend a trustee meeting Monday - Karen Farkas, Northeast Ohio Media Group

University of Akron faculty, staff, alumni and students have been urged to attend a trustee meeting Monday morning to illustrate their concern about leadership, layoffs, budget cuts and the future of the university. Trustees are meeting at 8 a.m. to rescind a a $50-per-credit-hour fee on upper-level courses, a fee trustees approved in June. President Scott Scarborough to recommend last week that the fee be dropped amid pressure from students, legislators and the Ohio Department of Higher Education, who called the fee a tuition increase.

Walker budget changes to higher education will undermine the UW System - NICHALOUS POGORELEC, Badger Herald

Gov. Scott Walker’s relationship with higher education has been bad from the get-go. One of his opponents’ main critiques is he dropped out of school at Marquette University and never received a degree. A peek into the language of Walker’s budget shows he’s adamant to maintain his poor relationship with higher education in the state. The 2015-17 biennial budget includes a $250 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System, eliminates current tenure laws and includes major reforms to shared governance. It may be Walker’s history with college education that explains his animosity for academia, but one thing is certain: these cuts will severely undermine Wisconsin’s world-class public university system.

State budget may threaten tenured university professors - WKBT

Wisconsin's new state budget could be putting the future of tenured professors at risk. Under the new budget tenured professors could be let go if the program they are part of is cut. In the past letting a tenured staff member go was only possible if the entire university was in financial trouble. While being tenured doesn't necessarily mean protecting the job of a professor it does protect how they teach their classes. “The controversy is in the fact that some people have said well maybe this would be used as a way to get around the protection of free speech and controversial ideas, I don't think that's what's going to happen, however we are going to see how things unfold case by case,” said UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ball State University president, cabinet forgo pay raises - Seth Slabaugh, Star Press

Ball State University’s board of trustees on Friday adopted a $345 million general fund budget for 2015-16 that includes no pay raises for President Paul Ferguson or his cabinet. Ferguson and the cabinet opted to go without pay raises this year even though Indianapolis attorney Rick Hall, board chairman, said trustees were pleased with the administration’s dedication and “servant leadership” and had planned to give them raises. “We determined that the faculty and staff should get those additional dollars for merit,” Ferguson said. “A significant hallmark of servant leadership is giving back. We believe in this university and want to provide an additional financial reward to our outstanding faculty and staff.”

How Small Colleges Can Not Only Survive, But Thrive - Arthur F. Kirk, Huffington Post

With the closing of two more private not-for-profit colleges in recent months, Clearwater Christian College (FL) and Marian Court College (MA), many more college leaders and boards across the country realize they must take the difficult steps required to ensure survival for their institutions. Clearwater Christian, like Sweet Briar College, while struggling to keep its doors open for years, actually strengthened its financial position in the last few post-Great Recession years. The National Student Clearinghouse data documented a 2.4 percent decline in enrollment this spring in colleges of 3,000 or fewer students. Moody's forecast the lowest revenue growth for the sector in over a decade.

President Says Missouri State University Still Trying to “Catch up” Employee Compensation, but Pleased with New Budget - SCOTT HARVEY, KSMU

Missouri State University President Clif Smart says the top priority in the recently passed budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year was giving the school’s employees a raise. “We had a three year period where no one got an across-the-board raise. There was obviously inflation during those years. And so when you factor that in we haven’t caught up yet… we’ve been working over the last three years to try to catch up. And by that I mean trying to do compensation increases that were more than inflation.” He notes the school hasn’t caught back up just yet, but this year’s 1.8 percent increase is double the .8 percent rate of inflation for 2014.