Wednesday, May 25, 2016

College Will Lay Off Staff in Response to Funding Drops - Pat Blair, Sheridan Media

The Northern Wyoming Community College District will lay off administrative staff, cut expenses and draw on reserve funds to offset a loss of $1.8 million in operating funds for the next two years. College President Dr. Paul Young delivered the message to the district's board of trustees in a budget work session at Sheridan College Thursday night. Young said the loss from the state comes on the heels of a $1.5 million decrease in annual Sheridan County tax contributions, which have dropped by 44 percent since 2010. He said the district will cut five staff positions, four at Sheridan College and one at Gillette College, which the district also owns. The district also owns an outreach center in Buffalo, but no cuts are planned there.

Surprise! Data science, technology among key higher ed growth areas - Tara GarcĂ­a Mathewson, Education Dive

New research from Learning House aims to help colleges and universities think about the future of higher education. While many of the findings should not be a surprise to those inside the evolving educational landscape, "Growth Opportunities in Higher Education: Degrees and Alternate Pathways," may provide some external validation of strategic plans at colleges and universities across the country. The report projects high-demand online bachelor’s, master’s, MBA and doctoral degree programs of the future, along with alternative learning pathways that are bound to gain in popularity. “This research underscores that for higher education institutions to thrive, it’s critical that they’re flexible in how, where, and what they offer to students,” said Learning House CEO Todd Zipper in a prepared statement.

State education budgets down 17% since recession, report finds - Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

States have cut higher ed spending by an average of 17% since 2007, a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found. While some states have begun increasing their spending again, only four — North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin and Wyoming — have surpassed pre-recession spending levels. To compensate, institutions have raised tuition by 33% in the same timeframe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

EIU president says stopgap funding won't get it through summer - The Associated Press

The president of Eastern Illinois University says the $12.5 million the school receives in stopgap state funding won't be enough to get it through the summer. EIU President David Glassman said in a letter May 2 that the school will be "challenged" to make payroll for late July and early August. The Mattoon Journal-Gazette reports ( that Glassman says future layoffs may be necessary. The school is receiving about $12.5 million as part of a measure Illinois lawmakers approved earlier this month. Lawmakers are amid a standoff over a full state budget. EIU officials say the school asked for $24 million to $28 million. EIU has lost 413 employees since layoffs started about a year ago. The school has stopped hiring, postponed construction projects and restricted travel and purchases.

UAF won't get a new chancellor as university officials consider restructure - Tegan Hanlon, Alaska Dispatch News

University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen announced Thursday that the Fairbanks campus will not get a new chancellor as the university system faces a multimillion budget gap and looks into a new accreditation model. Johnsen made the announcements in an email sent to UA students and staff. Johnsen said he will not move forward with the search for the University of Alaska Fairbanks' next chancellor, even though finalists have already been named for the job.

Students, parents worried after state budget causes delay in W.Va. scholarships - WSAZ

Another drawback to West Virginia's budget problems: High schools seniors hoping to receive PROMISE scholarship are in limbo. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission informed high school counselors on May 2 that award letters for this year's PROMISE recipients have been delayed due to stalled budget talks in the Legislature. Award letters are typically sent in April. The Legislature didn't pass a state budget for Fiscal Year 2017 during the regular session. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is calling lawmakers back next week to work on it. Policy Commission spokeswoman Jessica Tice says funds can't be guaranteed to students that the Legislature hasn't appropriated.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wright State cutting staff - Josh Sweigart, Dayton Daily News

Wright State University has begun informing some staff members that their positions will be eliminated as the school works to cut $19 million from its budget in the next two years. University officials have not said how many positions will be cut. “As Wright State continues to align its expenses with its anticipated revenues, the university has begun to identify positions that will be eliminated,” WSU spokesman Seth Bauguess wrote in an email when asked about reports of layoffs this week. Several staff members have taken to online public message boards to warn their colleagues.

Oklahoma City Community College to make cuts due to state budget crisis - KOCO

Oklahoma City Community College announced several cuts are coming in anticipation of a poor upcoming fiscal year. Part of the college's strategy is to find $3 million in cuts for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1, and other changes that will impact students and employees. Administration will suggest an increase in tuition and fees and reduction in staff and programming to make up for the budget problems. “We can’t keep services at their current levels with the amount of reductions we have absorbed,” OCCC President Jerry Steward said. “We are planning on almost $5.35 million less when you combine the cuts we already experienced this year, with additional anticipated cuts for next year. That amount is unfortunately going to affect every service, program and individual on this campus."

Saint Leo University to lay off employees as part of restructuring - Janelle Irwin, Tampa Bay Business Journal

Saint Leo University is restructuring its institution with an eye on growing the school and more appropriately serving its students. The changes will affect the employment status of between 20 and 30 employees. The school has 1,300 full-time employees across the system of 40 education centers in the U.S. as well as its online programs. Over the past two weeks, affected employees have been in conversations with school leadership about the layoffs, said Denny Moller, the school’s vice president of University Advancement.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

University of Missouri estimates show enrollment decline to cost campus $36 million - RUDI KELLER, Columbia Tribune

Enrollment at the University of Missouri is expected to decline by 2,600 students in the fall, aggravating a bad budget situation and making it likely the pain will extend for several years as the shrunken fall freshman class filters through to graduation. Vice Chancellor of Finance Rhonda Gibler, in an interview ahead of a campus budget forum Wednesday, said campus divisions have been told to plan for 2 percent cuts to general fund budgets for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 in addition to 5 percent cuts ordered for the year that begins July 1. “We won’t know for some time if 2 percent is a solid number,” Gibler said. “It is probably not; it will probably be something different from 2 percent.” The decline in tuition revenue is now estimated to be $36.3 million, up from about $20 million.

Governor asks University of Wyoming to cut $35 million more - BOB MOEN, Casper Star Tribune

Providing the first hard numbers on how the state's deepening budget crisis is affecting Wyoming, Gov. Matt Mead said the University of Wyoming needs to cut $35 million from its just-approved two-year budget because of falling state energy revenues. The $35 million is on top of nearly $6 million lawmakers cut from the state's only public, four-year university during the legislative session that ended in early March, Mead said. Mead delivered the grim news in person to the UW Board of Trustees on Wednesday afternoon.

Tulsa Community College to cut around 30 positions due to recent state budget cuts - KJRH

Due to state budget cuts, around 30 jobs are expected to be cut from a local community college. Tulsa Community College plans to eliminate 15 full time and 15 part time positions to accommodate recent state budget losses, as per a statement sent by the college. TCC went on to say that employees who are affected by the announcement will be offered tuition assistance for retraining, outplacement services, employee assistance program support and a severance project.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

College of DuPage projecting $11M deficit in 2017 budget - ERIC SCHELKOPF, Shaw Media

The College of DuPage Board of Trustees is studying how to close a projected $11 million deficit in the college's fiscal year 2017 budget. Trustees discussed the budget at a May 5 special board meeting. The proposed budget shows total revenues of $171.4 million and total expenses of $182 million, for a projected deficit of nearly $11 million. The proposed budget assumes a decrease in the college's property tax revenues from $81.1 million in 2016 to $79.2 million in 2017. In addition, tuition and fees are projected to decrease from $83.2 million in 2016 to about $81 million in 2017.

System president's email criticizing tenure expectations and comparing professors to railroad brakemen adds to faculty frustration in Wisconsin - Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Ray Cross, president of the University of Wisconsin System, wrote in a March email to the vice president of the system’s Board of Regents, who was chairing a task force on controversial changes to layoff policies concerning tenured faculty members, that tenure should not mean “a job for life,” according to public records first obtained by the The Cap Times. "That is a ‘union’ argument,” Cross wrote to Regent John Behling, comparing faculty members to railroad brakemen whom he said were kept on the job for years after they were no longer needed.

WIU faculty union agrees to pay cut - Lainie Steelman, McDonough Voice

Western Illinois University’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100 has agreed to a pay cut under a proposal voted on by members last week. According to chapter president Bill Thompson, members voted “overwhelmingly” to defer three-percent of their salary for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years and to rescind a previously negotiated one-percent salary increase for the 2017 fiscal year starting July 1, 2016. Under the three-percent deferral plan, union members would be paid back the deferred salary, in equal amounts over the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years, if two conditions are met: WIU’s fiscal year 2016 state appropriations budget is at least 60 percent of the FY15 appropriations budget, and the university’s FY19 state appropriations and university-wide full-time enrollment equal 90 percent of the FY15 levels.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Yavapai College budget $2.2 million less than last year’s - Max Efrein, Daily Courier

Yavapai County taxpayers won’t be seeing any increased hits to their pocketbooks from the county’s community college this coming fiscal year. During a special budget hearing and adoption meeting on Tuesday, May 10, the Yavapai College District Governing Board unanimously approved an $81 million district budget for fiscal year 2016-17. This is $2.2 million less (2.7 percent) than last year’s budget, and college officials did not seek an increase in property tax levy — which was increased 2 percent last year. Overall, 72 percent of the budget funds went toward education expenses, 16 percent went toward economic development and 12 percent are for cultural expenses.

Budget Cuts Coming to Henderson Community College - Tristate

Serious budget cuts coming to Henderson Community College. College officials blame the cuts on declining enrollment and less state funding. Henderson Community College President Dr. Kris Williams says 13 positions have already been eliminated. Other operations will scale back as well, including a four day work week over the summer. The Fine Arts Center will also be shutting down for next January, but reopen in February.

Tulsa Community College to lay off 30 - RANDY KREHBIEL, Tulsa World

Tulsa Community College is eliminating 15 full-time and 15 part-time staff positions because of state funding cuts, officials said Tuesday. The forced reductions, which are in addition to 184 pared through attrition over the past two years, were announced in an email to faculty and staff from President Leigh Goodson. State budget failures this year and further reductions expected for next year will reduce TCC’s state funding by a possible $7 million compared to the budget we started FY16 with in July,” Goodson said in her email. “The financial implications are significant for TCC.” The layoffs announced Tuesday do not include faculty positions, officials said.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Granite Geek: The art of college and online learning - DAVID BROOKS, Concord Monitor

MOOCs were a hot new thing three or four years ago when they looked as if they might upend the traditional college business model. “Structures” is part of EdX, a compilation of MOOCs from a variety of high-profile universities around the world that was created by MIT and Harvard. The advantage of the approach is obvious: it’s a great way to spread education. May says a whopping 15,000 students have taken the class. She plans to use a rerun for research into educational methods, performing so-called A/B tests in which single variables of the approach are tweaked for different groups so the results can be compared.

NMSU faculty may be put on furlough - Lauren Villagran, ABQ Journal

University Provost Dan Howard said furloughs could be a “stopgap” measure to help bridge the university’s finances as it undergoes a major, multiyear restructuring effort while also facing short-term budget constraints. If approved, it would be the first time faculty could feel the burn of NMSU’s budget woes. “The chance of a furlough is less rather than more,” Howard said. “They are one of the options on the table to provide the stopgap.” “We’re going to evaluate every unit of the university in the mission of the university, which is teaching, research and service,” he said. “Our faculty are the heart of the institution and at the center of that mission, so the faculty are the last place you go looking for savings. That is why they have been relatively untouched in this process so far.”

Treasurer plans to pay off University's extensive debt with property revenue - Avery Anapol, GW Hatchet

GW’s total debt has steadily increased over the past eight years, but Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said capital projects that bring in revenue, like parking garages and new academic buildings, have matched the debt increase. Katz said that over the next five years, the University will begin to pay off outstanding debts without investing in as many capital projects. He said GW had not previously paid off these debts because the interest rates were low, and the University’s loans are fixed-rate – meaning that the interest does not fluctuate for the time they have the loan. The University paid off a $200 million bond in full using on-hand cash in July 2015, according to Katz. Katz said low interest rates will allow the University to extend the maturity of some debts that will come due in fiscal year 2019 from 10 to 30 years, which officials will have more time to pay off. “We try to ladder what our maturities are so all debts are not coming due at the same time,” Katz said. “We believe this is a very secure debt strategy.”