Thursday, August 21, 2014

SFCC board approves tuition hike, staff cuts - Robert Nott, The New Mexican

Santa Fe Community College’s governing board on Thursday unanimously approved measures to close a $5 million budget shortfall. The measures include a $5-per-credit-hour tuition hike for students starting in January, staff reductions, and salary decreases for employees earning $30,000 and more. “When you try to fix a problem with a year’s time, we have to take some actions that are severe,” board member Martha Romero told the assembly.

Budget cuts, enrollment tackled at WCU Opening Assembly - Citizen Times

The collective efforts of faculty and staff to attract and retain larger numbers of students at Western Carolina University are helping the institution weather lingering budget constraints that otherwise would hamstring efforts to improve academic quality and enhance the student experience. That was among the messages delivered Wednesday, by WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher in his annual Opening Assembly address to kick off the fall semester.

Diverse Conversations: Is Higher Education Worth It? - Matthew Lynch, Huffington Post

Speaking with Yvonne Tocquigny who is CEO of Tocquigny, a company that specializes in brand management and development for colleges and universities. "Online learning and MOOCS will provide innovative ways for schools to cut costs by curbing the cost of labor (the #1 cost for most schools) and amortizing their investment in the best teachers. This will have to be balanced with the need to continue to convince students that the value of an online course from their school is somehow superior to that of a less expensive institution. Many people believe that in a few years, one will be able to acquire online learning through Amazon. So schools will have to do more over time to define the value of a degree from their particular school. They will have to become more efficient at attracting the right students to their school."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Higher education — and voters — vs. Ohio politicians - DavidKushma, Toledo Blad

The survey of 800 likely voters, a scientifically accurate sample of the state’s overall electorate, found that more than two-thirds consider funding for public higher education a priority in the state budget. Nearly three-fifths say state aid to public colleges and universities should increase. Support for such spending is greater in northwest Ohio — the home of the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University — than in any other part of the state. But the poll shows that the sentiment crosses regional, party, and gender lines, and includes voters in households where no one attends college or plans to do so. Unlike the pols, voters are willing to place the future of the state ahead of immediate self-interest. Despite such expressions of popular support, Ohio remains among the bottom 10 states in aid per student to higher education — about $1,500 less than the national average. State funding of public universities and colleges has dropped by 18 percent over the past five years, and funding for student financial aid has been cut in half, even though Ohio’s economy ostensibly is recovering from the Great Recession.

Tuition up, support down: Has college finally broken the bank? - Kirk Pinho, Crain's Detroit

Everyone knows college has become more expensive. But here's one more jaw-dropping statistic: An MET contract now costs a third more than the average Michigan family makes in a year. And that's just for one child. In 1995, a four-year MET cost $19,908, 54 percent of the median household income of $36,426. By 2012, the last year for which median family house income data is available, it cost $66,496, about one third more than the $50,015 the average family made that year. The MET, shorthand for Michigan Education Trust, was instituted in 1988 as a way to prepay tuition and mandatory fees for a four-year college degree while children are still young. A contract covers any of Michigan's 15 public universities. The cost of an MET stands as a stark proxy for what years of flat and declining state aid and rising university budgets have done to make a college education less accessible.

Budget wrangling cuts $20M from Pennsylvania scholarship program touted by Corbett - Debra Erdley, Trib Live

Gov. Tom Corbett announced his Ready to Succeed scholarship program with a bang last winter, pitching a proposal to set aside $25 million for grants for college students with family incomes up to $110,000 a year. Corbett, who has come under fire for reducing subsidies to public universities, framed the proposal as an effort to help minimize debt for students who don't qualify for need-based aid but have completed at least one year of school with a 3.25 GPA. He vowed he wouldn't sign a budget without the program described as relief for hard-pressed, middle-income families. After months of contentious budget negotiations, the program was quietly pared to $5 million.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Is an associate’s degree the new bachelor’s degree? - Catey Hill, MarketWatch

More parents are sending their children to two-year colleges, but will this negatively impact their children’s future earning power? According to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College” study released this week, enrollment in two-year public colleges has skyrocketed in just the past four years: In 2010, 23% of families reported having children enrolled in a two-year public colleges, but this year, those numbers had ballooned to 34%. Meanwhile, enrollment in four-year public schools has slumped from 52% in 2010 to just 41% in 2014. “This is one of the ways families are keeping their spending down,” says Sarah Ducich, co-author of the Sallie Mae study.

2 College Presidents Take Pay Cuts to Raise Pay of Low-Wage Workers - RUTH MCCAMBRIDGE, Lexington Herald-Leader

These stories of two men who made sacrifices to ensure more equity can help us consider another way. They also provide a image that stands as a polar opposite and a rebuttal to the typical U.S. mega-rich billionaire hero. Not only did Raymond Burse, the interim president at Kentucky State University, request a $90,000 pay cut in order to raise the wages of 24 employees who made less than $10.25 an hour, but the school’s board of regents also approved the request. The second act may be even more important than the first. Burse now makes $259,744 instead of $349,869. Burse is not, apparently, the first president of a university to make this move. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, at Hampton University, William R. Harvey, the president, donated more than $100,000 so that low-wage workers there would make at least $9 per hour. And, again according to the Chronicle, “This is not the first time the Harveys have donated money to support wage increases at the private, historically black university in Hampton, Virginia

USM budget deficit split by conflicting philosophies Crisis at USM - NICK SCHROEDER , Portland Phoenix

Rumors began circulating in June that USM President Theodora Kalikow would resign. But no one knew Provost Michael Stevenson would follow suit, truncating a three-year contract that was slated to end in June of 2015. Like Kalikow, Stevenson was re-assigned to a different sector of the university system, each retaining the salary of their previous position (Kalikow’s of $203,000; Stevenson’s of $175,000). After Kalikow’s departure, the system Board of Trustees appointed David Flanagan, former CEO of Central Maine Power, to be USM’s interim president. Flanagan will attempt to oversee the closing of a $12 million structural deficit at USM for the coming fiscal year, and begin to move the campus toward the Metropolitan University model.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Punished for Its Mission? - Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed

New College of Florida is a public institution with small classes and close faculty-student interaction in a state where most students attend mammoth universities with large classes. It attracts and graduates high-quality students, and it's known for its rigorous curriculum. But so far it has come out a loser under the state’s new performance funding plan. The example it sets could extend far beyond Florida. If the Obama administration’s plan to tie federal student aid to performance ever becomes law, private liberal arts colleges may also have to deal with the consequences of policies that leave them at a disadvantage. New College is one of three public institutions in Florida that didn’t meet state standards. Those institutions all lost funding compared to the previous year and missed out on getting new money from a $100 million pot to reward colleges.

Illinois Central College gets late notice of big funding reduction - Thomas Bruch, Pekin Times

Less than a month before the Illinois Central College board of trustees was slated to adopt the tentative 2015 budget, college officials were informed that it would not receive almost $1 million it had penciled in on the budget. Early last week, ICC officials were notified by the Illinois Community College Board that it would see only about $1 million in equalization funding. According to ICC Vice President of Finance and Administration Bruce Budde, equalization funding is a pool of money available at the state level for community colleges that is designed to compensate for fluctuations in local revenues.

Mansfield University cuts budget shortfall by $7.5 million - Diane Eaton, Mansfield Press Courier

Mansfield University has made significant strides in reducing its budget shortfall during the past year according to John Adams, vice president for Finance and Administration. Last fall, Mansfield was projecting a $14.3 million deficit for two fiscal years, 2013-14 and 2014-15. At the July 23 MU Council of Trustees meeting, Adams said the deficit for the two years now stands at $6.8 million, an overall reduction of $7.5 million.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Solano College study session reveals $2.6M budget deficit - Susan Winlow, Daily Republic

Solano Community College is looking at a $2.6 million deficit in the 2014-15 budget unless something changes, a college official said at the governing board study session Wednesday night. That’s $200,000 more than was thought just a few of days ago. “We have our work cut out for us,” Yulian Ligioso, vice president of finance and administration, said, based on enrollment trends over the past four years. The college has seen declining enrollment since 2011-12 and did not meet needed target enrollment numbers during the spring and summer semesters.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner outlines plan to balance university's budget - Matt Tuohy, Hawaii Business Journal

University of Hawaii President David Lassner said Thursday he wants to increase the student head count, diversify funding through commercialization and boost the performance of current programs to help balance the university's budget. Lassner, speaking at a luncheon sponsored by Think Tech Hawaii in Downtown Honolulu, said the university cannot rely on tuition and government funds to continue operation and address the extensive backlog of repairs across the system. Bringing in more students locally and internationally is a good way to start, he said.

Santa Fe Community College moves to cut $5M deficit - Mark Oswald, ABQ Journal

Santa Fe Community College is facing a $5 million shortfall, its interim president disclosed Tuesday, and the college board later in the day unanimously approved a plan of layoffs, pay cuts, a tuition increase and other budget reductions to make up the deficit. Interim president Randy Grissom said the financial problems were caused by miscalculations and inaccurate budget projections in 2013.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Judge directs SIU to pay $1.9 million to employees for 2011 furlough - Christy Hendricks, KFVS

A judge for the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board found the administration for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale acted illegally during a 2011 contract dispute. The judge directed the university to pay around $1.9 million to more than 1,500 current and former employees. In 2010, SIU's Chancellor Rita Cheng said despite cost saving efforts, another $2.6 million still needed to be cut to balance the budget. "This can be achieved with four days from every employee that equals 1.53 percent of everybody salary," Cheng said in 2011. The university can appeal the ruling.

Optimistic Fund-Raisers - Rivard, Inside Higher Ed

Top college fund-raisers are mostly optimistic about the future, but the poor colleges are getting poorer, according to a new survey of advancement officials at 335 North American institutions. The survey is by Academic Impressions, which provides training conferences and webinars to higher education leaders. The survey, conducted online in June, focused on the most typical type of endowment fund: the small kind.

JUCOs balance budget, athletics - Carson Tigges, WCF Courier

According to the 2013 Condition of Iowa's Community Colleges Report, the state's public two-year schools combined for an enrollment of 94,234 in the fall of 2013. Des Moines Area Community College featured the largest enrollment at 20,167 while Southwestern Community College was on the low end of the range at 1,573. The total is down 6.3 percent from 2012 and 11.6 percent from the record-breaking year in 2010.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Financial Problems at Hawaii Pacific University - ALEX BITTER, Hawaii Business

Hawaii's largest private university struggles to pay the bills while transforming into a "smaller, better, smarter college". Hawaii Pacific University is suffering financial problems that have prompted layoffs of more than 100 faculty and staff, and major cuts in the scholarships that for decades have encouraged local students to attend the state’s largest private university. Meanwhile, the number of Hawaii students and the overall number of students have declined significantly in recent years.

A university president gave up $90,000 to give his minimum wage workers a raise - Libby Nelson, Vox

The interim president of Kentucky State University is giving up $90,000 of his $350,000 annual salary to give minimum wage workers on campus a raise, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. The lowest paid workers on campus currently make $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum wage. They'll now make $10.25 per hour, an increase that will stay in effect even after the university hires a new full-time president. The interim president, Raymond Burse, was president of Kentucky State in the 1980s before working for General Electric as a senior executive and retiring in 2012. "This is not a publicity stunt," Burse said, according to the Herald-Leader. "You don't give up $90,000 for publicity. I did this for the people."

Why Veterans Will Soon Save Thousands on College - Kim Clark, Time

A bill heading to the president's desk grants veterans and their families automatic in-state status at all public colleges, potentially saving them time and money. Great news for college-bound veterans and their families: Starting next year—the fall of 2015—veterans and their dependents will be able to pay low in-state tuition at any public university in the country. A bill granting veterans automatic in-state status at the nation’s public colleges got final bipartisan approval by Congress last Thursday, and President Obama has said he will sign it into law.