Sunday, September 25, 2016

Higher Learning Commission puts New Mexico Highlands University on probation - Robert Nott, New Mexican

Highlands has about 3,500 students at its main campus in Las Vegas, N.M. It also operates satellite centers around the state, including in Santa Fe. Its annual operating budget is $65 million. The school gave slightly more detailed information about its probation on a webpage than the commission provided publicly. The university says the commission’s key areas of concern include “… ensuring funding and student services … stabilizing Highland’s financial reserves, strategic budgeting and providing training to the Board of Regents.” Sean Weaver, a spokesman for Highlands, said Thursday that some of the concerns include the size of the university’s reserves — about $6 million — a fuzzy mission statement and operational budgeting challenges.

More than 150 take voluntary retirement from Wright State - Josh Sweigart, Dayton Daily News

More than 150 Wright State faculty and staff have taken a voluntary retirement incentive since it was offered this summer that is part of the university’s plan to balance its budget. Those taking part in the program represent nearly one-third of WSU’s retirement-eligible employees. This includes 94 staff members, 40 faculty and 20 vice presidents, deans and directors. University spokesman Seth Bauguess on Thursday called the effort a success. Meanwhile, Wright State’s research arm is shedding workers and the faculty union is warning against teaching cuts. Wright State’s plans call for cutting $27.7 million from its budget over two years. Additionally, it plans to use $18.9 million from reserves.

U Alaska prepares for another multimillion-dollar budget gap and tuition hike - Tegan Hanlon, ADN

The University of Alaska is bracing for $16 million to $32 million cut to its state funding next year and is looking at another tuition hike to partially plug its anticipated budget gap. UA President Jim Johnsen presented a preliminary budget outline at Thursday's Board of Regents meeting in Juneau that included the "assumption" of a 10 percent tuition increase for the 2017-18 school year, which would come on top of years of steady increases to the prices students must pay for classes. If the 10 percent increase sticks as the university's budget process evolves over the next several months, Alaska residents at Anchorage's campus will pay about 134 percent more next school year for lower-division classes than resident students paid during the 2003-04 academic year.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

ISU President Touts Achievements, Warns of Budget Woes - Illinois State University

Positive messages and words of warning at Illinois State University. President Larry Dietz welcomed the largest freshman class in 27 years at the annual “State of the University” address. In his speech, Doctor Dietz stressed that even in times of fiscal uncertainty, the students come first. He implored the state legislature to set aside partisan politics and fully fund education. Even with the budget issues, Dietz said there are cuts the university isn't looking to make.

As economy rebounds, state funding for higher education isn’t bouncing back - Luba Ostashevsky, Hechinger Report

By 2015, Pennsylvania had cut funding to its public universities by $3,758 per full-time student, giving its students only about two-thirds the national average of what states contribute to higher ed. Tuition at its public universities had gone up nearly $2,000 since the start of the recession. Seventy percent of students in Pennsylvania now graduate with debt that averages $33,264, higher than the national average of $29,000, the Institute for College Access and Success reports. Some observers see signs of hope. State investment in public universities and colleges nationally has at least surpassed the level it was at during the low point of 2012, SHEEO says. Still, said Iris Palmer, who watches higher education as a senior policy analyst at the think tank New America, given “the insane disinvestment” between 2008 and 2014, “you wonder what they’ll do when another recession hits.”

Editorial: Funding for community college important too - Carroll County Times

While officials wrestle with schools funding, it's important to include Carroll Community College. While the county Board of Commissioners and Board of Education continue to wrestle with how to close the funding gap for local schools, it's important not to forget about the county's other educational institution, Carroll Community College. Earlier this week, the community college's President James Ball and board of trustees met with the commissioners to talk about local funding in the coming years. College officials presented a plan that includes a 5 percent tuition increase and 3 percent salary increase each of the next four years, asking for a increase in financial support from the county to do so.

Friday, September 23, 2016

University of California debt soars to $17 billion; regents consider new borrowing policy - Katy Murphy, Mercury News

The University of California’s debt has ballooned to $17.2 billion since the start of the recession, more than doubling as the system borrowed to repair buildings, fund pensions, and build medical centers and student housing. In the past decade, as states have cut support for capital projects, public universities across the U.S. have piled on debt to repair old buildings and build new ones. But some, including Gov. Jerry Brown, have expressed wariness about all the borrowing. Along with access to needed cash, UC is locking itself into more costs — and is fast approaching its limit for borrowing cheaply from the market. But with the board of regents this week considering UC’s first-ever debt policy, university leaders insist the borrowing spree is strategic, given unusually low interest rates and federal tax exemptions on university financing.

Illinois budget crisis leading to ‘brain drain’ - Jeff Burnett, the Journal

“I don’t think any of the universities can survive at the level we need them to operate without adequate state funding,” former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar said. “And the smaller state universities… it’s devastating” Governors State University announced in a statement last Tuesday that it will be closing its Illinois Small Business Development Center and its SBDC International Trade Center due the budget crisis. Other universities, like Western Illinois University and Chicago State University, have made major cut backs. “Even if you got a budget tomorrow really serious damage has already been done,” said Gov. Edgar.

UW-Madison losing ground to competitors amid budget cuts, Rebecca Blank says - Nico Savidge,

UW-Madison eliminated 420 positions and laid off 50 employees over the past year as it managed its share of a $250 million reduction in state higher education funding, Chancellor Rebecca Blank told faculty, lawmakers and employees Wednesday. And with other states pouring money back into their university systems, Blank said during a forum on the budget, competing institutions have improved while UW-Madison has fallen behind. As the University of Wisconsin System focuses its attention on the next state budget and UW’s request for $42.5 million in new funding, Blank and other officials sought to hammer home a message Wednesday that they hope will resonate with legislators, alumni and parents: “It’s time to reinvest in the University of Wisconsin.”

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The anxiety is real: College costs rise more, relative to income, for the middle class - Catharine Bond Hill, Washington Post

Those in the middle haven’t been imagining their pain. While all households are facing rising costs of higher education relative to incomes, those truly in the middle of the income distribution are facing larger increases relative to their incomes than those households above them in the income distribution. Between 1975 and 2014, the average income of U.S. households in the top 5 percent of the income distribution increased by 82 percent, while the average income of those households in the middle 20 percent increased by only 15 percent. Moreover, in constant 2014 dollars, the gap between the average incomes for these two groups increased from $135,700 to $278,300.

Study: Successful Students’ Focus not on Wealth - Jamaal Abdul-Alim, Diverse Education

The study — released this week through the National Bureau of Economic Research — compared the characteristics of “thrivers” and “divers,” that is, students in the top and bottom 10 percent, respectively, of their class in college. Thrivers are more willing to study more hours per week to get the higher GPA they expect, are purpose-driven and express more philanthropic goals, the study found, whereas divers are more likely to cram for exam, procrastinate, and express superficial goals such as “get rich” or be “successful” in business. “Divers are significantly likely to use words which highlight wealth,” the study states. “Thrivers, on the other hand, are more likely to highlight how they plan to contribute to society, using words such as ‘human’ and ‘people.’”

Public Opinion on Higher Education - 13% drop since 2009 - Public Agenda

Americans are increasingly uncertain about the necessity of college for success in the workforce, according to our recent survey, funded by The Kresge Foundation. For many years, when we asked the public the question, "Do you think that a college education is necessary for a person to be successful in today's work world," an increasing percentage of Americans said yes. That trend has shifted since the Great Recession. Now, just 42 percent of Americans say college is necessary for workforce success, a 13 percent drop from 2009. Fifty-seven percent of Americans say there are many ways to succeed in today's world without a college degree, a 14 percent increase from 2009.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Provost addresses enrollment drop, faculty’s transparency concerns - Andrea Salcedo, Columbia Chronicle

Wearden added that the college will be sending an email Sept. 12 announcing new budget policies for this year, caused by the college’s serious budget deficit. The policy allocates funds for professional development and annual travel expenses. Keith Kostecka, an assistant professor in the Science and Mathematics Department, asked Wearden how associate professors would obtain funds for professional development. Wearden said they would apply to the pool, and deans of the college, along with a committee, would be in charge of reviewing applications. According to Wearden, deans are scheduled to meet with their departments this year, and will present their budgets. They will include how their budgets fit into the college’s general budget.

PHASE I OF STRATEGIC PATHWAYS UNDERWAY - Victoria Petersen, Northern Light

In an effort to tighten the university budget Strategic Pathways is UA President Jim Johnsen’s solution for necessary cuts and changes to UA. Separated into phases, Strategic Pathways will focus on select programs in each phase, allowing for public testimony and careful thought regarding each and every program up for reductions and termination. Although the forum was meant to be a place for students, staff, and community members to speak about all things with phase I of Strategic Pathways, the discussion was overwhelmingly focused on the possibility of cutting UAA athletics.


As early as August 29, paper signs were posted outside the UAA/APU Consortium Library entrances stating, “After Hours will not be offered this semester due to budget cuts.” According to Steve Rollins, Dean of the Consortium Library, over the last three years, budget cuts to the library have continued to get deeper. “We’ve lost, at this point, $1.7 million from the general fund. That’s about 28 percent of our general fund,” Rollins said. “Three years ago, we got cut $400,000, then it was $600,000, and then this year we’re in right now is $740,000 that’s been cut. We’ve cut collections, we’ve cut our book budget…” Robin Hanson, Head of Access Services at the Consortium Library noted that many do not realize “…how many dollars we’ve lost, and our reductions in staff and the decisions we had to make.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

UMD continues to recover from budget cuts - MIchelle Alfini, NNCNOW

The University of Minnesota Duluth is continuing to work towards recovering from its budget deficit. Right now this means budget cuts to several academic programs. The cuts are based on college enrollment, so the three colleges with fewer students signing up for classes are seeing more of the cuts. That means deans from the college of liberal arts, the school of fine arts and the college of education have been given budget targets and will be looking for areas to cut. According to Lynne Williams, the director of marketing and public relations, It's all a part of an effort to keep the cuts from affecting too many students. "We're looking at programs where we have seen a decline in enrollment and a decline in demand and how can we reallocate resources from those programs that have that capacity to the programs that have more opportunity to grow and enroll more students," she said.

University of North Dakota System could see 490 less positions in a 90-percent budget - DAVE THOMPSON, Prairie Public

Staff for the North Dakota University System have given the Board of Higher Education’s Budget and Finance Committee a first look at how the allotments, plus Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s request for 90 percent budgets for the upcoming two year period, will affect the System’s spending. System chief financial officer Tammy Dolan told the committee – when you take the 6 ½ percent allotments, plus another 3 ½ percent cut – to add up to 10 percent – it would mean a $49.5 million reduction for the 2017-2019 biennium. Dolan said the biggest area of spending is in personnel. "If you look at the count from the '15-'17 allotment, and the '17-'19 budget, it's about 490 positions," Dolan said.

Cross talks college affordability as biennial budget looms - Madeline Heim, Daily Cardinal

The cost of college remains on the minds of students, parents, campus administration and legislators alike as the UW System considers what it could face in Wisconsin’s next biennial budget, which Gov. Scott Walker will announce early spring semester. Wisconsin students graduating last spring left school with an average of $30,650 in cumulative debt, according to the UW System. And as the cost of being a student has risen—with factors like housing, food, textbooks and expensive school supplies all playing a part—system leaders have increasingly asked for state support to keep college affordable and accessible. UW System President Ray Cross argued that the freeze, combined with declining state support for higher education, equals less opportunities for students looking to finish school without breaking the bank.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Daunting challenges face KU and all of higher education - Peter Hancock, Lawrence Journal-World

Funding cuts imposed on Kansas colleges and universities, and the threat of even more cuts to come, pose a serious threat to higher education in the state, and particularly to the University of Kansas, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said this week. But she said financial issues are not the only challenges facing universities. Growing racial tensions and an increasing number of complaints over sexual assaults against women on campuses are also forcing university administrators to look at fundamental changes in the way they do business, Gray-Little said.

UNM, NMSU regents take on state's budget shortfall - Las Cruces Sun-News

What is normally a ceremonial affair — the yearly joint meeting of the board of regents from New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico — took on a more serious tone Saturday, in the face of New Mexico’s bleak budget outlook. Three of five NMSU regents attended the meeting Saturday afternoon, as did five of UNM’s six regents. The meeting began with a presentation from Jim Peach, a regents professor in NMSU’s department of economics and international business. Peach, who is widely regarded as an expert in New Mexico’s economy, gave an update and forecast on the state’s economic forecast ahead of the upcoming special legislative session. “The outlook for New Mexico’s economy might best be described as ‘challenged,’” Peach told regents. “In late 2017, we may have as many jobs (in New Mexico) as we did in late 2007.”

Under Ramsey, U of L endowment cratered - Andrew Wolfson, Courier-Journal

Under the leadership of University of Louisville Foundation President James Ramsey, the value of the university’s foundation – adjusted for inflation – dropped 19 percent, or $131 million, from 2006 through April this year. Experts say that decline raises questions about the endowment’s ability to serve the university in perpetuity – the goal of every endowment. The Courier-Journal’s review also found that Ramsey has repeatedly overstated the foundation's contribution to the university by falsely saying that it has given more money than the state in recent years. The newspaper also found that in a campuswide email in June that Ramsey omitted key information about the foundation's bond rating in a statement that former Securities and Exchange Committee staff lawyers say would be considered misleading if made by an officer at a public company.