Sunday, November 23, 2014

Budget cuts coming to U of M Faculties preparing for 3 or 4 % cut, university faces $10.5 million shortfall - Ethan Cabel, the Manitoban

The University of Manitoba administration has instructed faculties and other non-academic units to prepare for budget cuts of between three and four per cent for the 2015-16 academic year. John Danakas, executive director of the marketing and communications office at the U of M, emphasized that U of M president David Barnard will be speaking to these matters next week. According to Danakas, the proposed cuts are contingent on how much the provincial government increases its annual operating grant for Manitoban universities.

Hocking College announces 36 layoffs, mandatory furloughs, other cuts - Athens News

Facing a $4.4 million budget deficit, Hocking College announced 36 layoffs Thursday afternoon, including nine administrative positions, 16 professional bargaining unit instructors, eight professional bargaining unit non-instructional positions and three support staff bargaining unit positions. The eliminated administrative positions also include three deans at the college, a news release said Thursday, but did not name which ones or their respective departments. "All efforts are being made to minimize the impact of our budget decline on our students, while protecting the areas critical to the mission of Hocking College," interim President Betty Young said in a news release.

Average College Grad Now Leaves School With $28,400 in Debt - Kim Clark, Time

A new report from the Project on Student Debt shows that many recent grads are drowning in student loans, but also offers advice for avoiding this destiny. Student debt has hit another record—with the typical 2013 college grad who borrowed commencing post-collegiate life with loan bills totaling $28,400, according to a Project on Student Debt report released Thursday. That number is up 2% over the class of 2012, who owed $27,850.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Salisbury U Imposes Hiring Freeze in Face of State Budget Shortfall - DON RUSH, Melmarva Public Radio

Salisbury University is imposing a hard hiring freeze in the wake of news that the state could be facing a budget deficit as high as $300 million in the fiscal year of 2015 with future reductions that could top $450 million. In addition, all current vacant positions for which there have not been offers already made are to be left unfilled.

Dowling faculty union agrees to $4.7 million in givebacks - CANDICE FERRETTE, Newsday

Dowling College's faculty union Wednesday approved $4.7 million in contract givebacks to help close the 2014-15 budget gap at the Oakdale liberal arts school, officials announced. The agreement includes professor buyouts, possible layoffs, deferred raises and new health insurance with higher deductibles. The plan amends a faculty contract that was due to expire in 2016.

Webster U to close three campuses, St. Louis location is safe - Koran Addo, Post-Dispatch

Webster University is set to close three of its U.S. campuses in the coming year as a way to balance its budget. The move comes as declining student enrollment in graduate programs has led to a projected revenue shortfall.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Standardized Tests for the Job Market - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

Angst over the perceived “skills gap” and a dearth of trained workers is growing. Meanwhile, many complain that typical college transcripts say little about what someone knows and can do in the workplace. One way for employers to find better job applicants might be to require all potential hires to take a test. This “GRE-for-job” assessment could measure both soft and hard skills. Employers might even require all job-seekers to get a minimum cutoff score. There is a growing market for such workplace readiness tests in the U.S. One of the most established is ACT's WorkKeys. The suite of 11 assessments help employers select, hire, train and retain a “high-performance workforce,” according to the nonprofit testing firm.

The Shrinking Academic Workforce - Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed

The Shrinking Academic Workforce - Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed The academic workforce is shrinking. Not by much, mind you: the number of faculty members and administrators at colleges eligible to award federal financial aid declined by a mere 7,500 from 2012 to 2013, according to new Education Department statistics. But the dip, however small, is the first in many years. The percentage drop in the number of employees, which the National Center for Education Statistics puts at 0.19 percent, to 3,969,396 in 2013 from 3,976,803 in 2012, is actually larger than the enrollment decline that the report also documents. Overall enrollments fell by about 300,000 (to 20.85 million from 21.15 million) in 2013, about evenly split between for-profit institutions and public two-year institutions.

Student Debt Rises Again - Michael Stratford, Inside Higher Ed

Students in the class of 2013 who took out loans to attend public and private nonprofit colleges graduated with an average of debt of $28,400, a 2 percent increase from the previous year, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Institute for College Access and Success. About 70 percent of graduates had student loans, the report says, but the amount they owed varied widely across different institutions and states.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tuition and Borrowing Growth Slows - Kaitlin Mulhere, Inside Higher Ed

But while the rate of price increases is slowing, the accumulation is still formidable, as Sandy Baum, one of the report’s authors, points out. For public four-year colleges, the published tuition and fee prices are 3.25 times higher than they were 30 years ago. At public two year-year and private four-year colleges, the prices are 2.5 times higher. Published price increases vary by degree type. At public universities, tuition for students earning a bachelor’s degree has increased 10 percent beyond inflation in the past five years, compared with 16 percent for master’s programs and 17 percent for doctoral programs in the same period. The trend for the past five years was different at private nonprofit colleges, where bachelor’s-degree tuition increased the most – 13 percent beyond inflation – and master’s and doctoral programs increased 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively.About 60 percent of students who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2012-13 from public and private nonprofit colleges graduated with debt. The average amount per borrower was $27,300, an increase of 13 percent over the past five years.

After 45 years, program for nontraditional students at UMaine will close - Nell Gluckman, Bangor Daily News

A statement from the university cited “eroding enrollments; a large financial aid overlay that the university could use more effectively elsewhere; [and] a six-year graduation rate significantly lower than the rate for the general UMaine student population.” It explained that the faculty who work for the Onward Program will be moved to other areas in the university, where they will serve more students. The Onward Program’s 52 current students will continue to receive support through other advising resources available at the university, the statement said. The statement also said that the program elimination helps the University of Maine System achieve its goal of having seven distinct universities, each with a different focus.

Enrollment woes could force Owens Community College into Fiscal Watch - Amulya Raghuveer, NBC 24

The school announced on Monday the start of a recovery plan to help stabilize finances while continuing to fulfill their role as an educational and economic provider in northwest Ohio. Owens has seen a 38% drop in enrollment over the past four years, leading to a loss of revenue from both tuition and state funding. The College says it anticipates being placed on Fiscal Watch, a state which would require them to report finances to the State more frequently and development and implement a 3-year- recovery plan, sometime in 2015. "We will be challenged to be more entrepreneurial, to share difficult sacrifices, and to move this college forward," Mike Bower, Ph.D., and President of Owens College told the gathering. "We can and WILL transform this College."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

First college graduation, then the payments - David Jesse, Detroit Free Press

Mary Walsh is a little leery of getting the mail these days. She's not looking forward to getting the envelope with the first bill for her student loan. "I know in my head it's coming, and I've been planning to pay it, but I still don't want to see it ... it's going to take a big chunk out of my budget," said the spring 2014 Wayne State University graduate, who now lives in Lansing and works for a non-profit. Walsh is among thousands of recent graduates who have to make their first payments this month. Federal student loans give those with loans a six-month grace period from their last class before payments start.

Kansas officials expected to issue more pessimistic revenue forecast as budget shortfall looms - Associated Press

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and the GOP-dominated Legislature will get new revenue projections that are expected to make the state's budget problems look worse and intensify discussions about trimming spending. Legislative researchers, members of Brownback's budget staff, Department of Revenue officials and university economists are meeting Monday afternoon to draft a new financial forecast for state government. It will revise revenue projections for the budget year that began in July and issue the first official numbers for the budget year beginning in July 2015. The Legislature's nonpartisan research staff made unofficial predictions going into the meeting of a $14 million budget shortfall by July, compounding to $282 million by July 2016.

University professors warn of drawbacks to constitutional amendments - Quint Forgey. LSU Reveille

University professors are expressing their concerns for two state constitutional amendments passed in the Nov. 4 midterm elections, fearing they could affect higher education funding. Of the six constitutional amendments passed on Election Day, Amendment One and Amendment Two take steps to further protect health care funding, leaving less room for flexibility in the state budget. University public administration professor Roy Heidelberg said higher education is one of the last major budget areas left unprotected in the state. “Structurally, it definitely does cut off higher education,” Heidelberg said.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Providing for Alaska’s university: Legislature should do better at providing stable budget for UA - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Editorial

As another state budget-making cycle begins, the University of Alaska is in a dangerous place. As the Legislature looks to address slumping state revenue, substantial cuts to the institution seem likely if not assured. Historically, as the state’s fiscal fortunes have waxed and waned, so have those of the university. But that sort of feast-and-famine budget cycling not only causes undue hardship to the university and its employees but also is an inefficient way to provide for an institution that is the engine providing a supply of the state’s future leaders. This isn’t the first time the university has been put in a pinch. The 1990s saw significant and painful cuts that entailed layoffs and systemwide budget slashing. And to their credit, this time UA President Patrick Gamble and the Board of Regents saw the financial bind coming.

New Initiative Aims to Teach People to Code—Then Find Them Jobs - ISSIE LAPOWSKY, Wired

Codecademy already makes it easy for anyone, anywhere to learn how to program a computer. Now, the New York City-based startup wants to make it just as simple for this new generation of coders to find jobs, as well. On Friday, the company announced the launch of a new workforce development initiative called ReskillUSA, which will help connect people in cities from Los Angeles to Detroit to Miami with employers in need of tech talent. Codecademy is partnering with some of its fellow skills education startups, including Flatiron School, DevBootcamp,, Grand Circus, Wyncode, and Thinkful. Together, they’ve created an online platform where people can find coding classes and bootcamps across the country. The partners are also actively urging employers to tap ReskillUSA’s graduate pipeline for potential employees. The goal, says Codecademy CEO Zach Sims, is to streamline what has become a fragmented industry of coding classes and camps.

For-profit colleges sue Obama admin over 'irrational' new guidelines - Claire Zillman, Fortune

The schools have asked a judge to reject the new regulation, which bases for-profit colleges’ access to federal loan programs on graduates’ debt load. The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, a trade group that represents for-profit colleges, sued the United States Department of Education and Secretary Arne Duncan on Thursday over rules the Obama administration released last week that penalize career training programs for burdening students with massive debt while offering few job prospects.

Monday, November 17, 2014

University of California Regents to Consider a 5 year, 5% Annual Tuition Increase Stability Plan - Sierra Sun Times

The University of California Board of Regents announced that it will consider a new five-year plan for low, predictable tuition that will provide funding to increase access for California students, maintain the university’s robust financial aid program and invest in educational quality. The regents will consider the plan, the first of its kind at the university, at their Nov. 19 meeting at UC San Francisco.

Supporters urge East Stroudsburg University to keep music programs after layoffs announced - Christina Tatu, Pocono Record

The normally quiet East Stroudsburg University Council of Trustees meeting was standing room only Wednesday as students, faculty and alumni implored university officials to keep the school's music programming. The school's two remaining tenured music professors were notified last week their jobs, as well as all music courses, the university's choral program and orchestra, will be eliminated in May. The music program was placed in moratorium last year and the faculty members who received layoff notices last week were part of that action, university officials have said.

SCSU asks employees to go ahead with furlough - CHRISTOPHER HUFF, Times and Democrat

South Carolina State University is asking employees to consider taking unpaid days off now instead of waiting for lawmakers to give the go-ahead for widespread mandatory furloughs at the institution. S.C. State trustees approved a seven-day furlough as part of the university’s $76 million budget. The furlough is expected to result in a savings of $1.5 million. While S.C. State’s budget year began July 1, the university says it can’t require the unpaid days off until the General Assembly gives the go-ahead. That may not be until February or later, with the furlough period ending May 15.