Monday, October 16, 2017

Budget cuts will destroy UConn’s reputation - Anusha Kumar, Daily Campus

Opportunities at the University of Connecticut may begin to diminish in both diversity and quantity. President Susan Herbst recently emailed all students at UConn about possible state budget cuts, stating that “more than $300 million” of the university’s funding would be cut, resulting in larger class sizes, limited major choices, increased tuition and closure of all regional campuses at UConn. The budget cuts will not only affect the university on an academic scale, but will also carry consequences with regard to health and wellness. Due to the budget cuts, UConn Health may need to close down, which would make it harder for students to receive the aid and care they need. Additionally, the university will not have enough money to hire psychologists, police, IT professionals and the outstanding professors that have shaped our university into the top public university it is today.

Despite hikes, tuition income falls short - Vanessa Miller The Gazette

Regent university expenses exceed revenues in fiscal 2017, report shows. With Iowa’s Board of Regents virtually certain to raise tuition again, the state’s public universities reported news this week that’s sure to complicate the debate over how much of an increase is appropriate: Despite hikes last year, they fell millions short in raising the tuition revenue forecast. That gap is largely because the regent universities actually are hurt financially by admitting students from Iowa — who pay the lowest tuition rates. For the last academic year, resident students made up a larger proportion of enrollment than projected.

Enrollment numbers down at Will County colleges - BOB OKON, Northwest Herald

The state’s ongoing budget problems and uncertainty over tuition aid for college students has taken a toll on Will County colleges and universities, some college administrators said. Enrollment has declined at University of St. Francis in Joliet, Lewis University in Romeoville and Joliet Junior College in the past three years. The drops in enrollment might not be as dramatic as those at some state institutions, where enrollment dipped by double-digit percentages, sending off alarms and red flags to other schools about how the state’s budget chaos affects higher education. No one has yet measured just how much of the local enrollment decline is a result of state funding problems. Also not helping the situation, college officials said, is the uncertainty surrounding the Monetary Aid Program, known as MAP grants, that helps fund college education for Illinois students.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Florida Senate may tap reserves to plug $1.6 billion budget hole - Arek Sarkissian, Tallahassee Democrat

With Medicaid costs rising and tax revenue socked by Hurricane Irma, Senate President Joe Negron says next year's legislative session may include tapping into the state's $3.8 billion in cash reserves. There will also be cuts to non-essential items in the state's $83 billion budget, but the Senate may also propose using the billions of dollars the Legislature has set aside over the years, Negron told the USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida. "It's called the rainy day fund and it's raining," he said in a one-on-one interview. "I think we will also let the appropriations process look into some of the issues in that base budget so we're not continuing to fund the priorities of lawmakers from the past." State economic reports show lawmakers need to trim the budget or face a $1.6 billion hole created by the state's $26.2 billion Medicaid program and an increase in student enrollment. Those costs are recurring and will not be covered by cash reserves. But using the reserves could help offset the state sales tax that was lost after last month's storm.

UNK creates plan to address budget gap - KHGI

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is working to finalize budget reduction plans to address a $2.68 million budget gap for the 2017-18 year, according to a press release by UNK. Chancellor Doug Kristensen hosted a budget forum with faculty and staff on Wednesday to outline a proactive plan to address budget challenges. The university is addressing a budget gap of $2.68 million in 2017-18 that will increase to $3.4 million in 2018-19 resulting from reduced state appropriations, lower-than-expected tuition revenue, and increased salaries and benefits, which compound in the second year of the biennial budget.

Western Connecticut State University May Offer In-State Tuition To New York, New Jersey Students - Kathleen Megan, Courant

Responding to a sharp drop in enrollment in recent years at Western Connecticut State University, the state Board of Regents for Higher Education may invite New York and New Jersey students to enroll at in-state tuition rates. The university’s enrollment has plunged by more than 700 students over the past six years. The board’s finance committee endorsed the proposal Wednesday and forwarded it to the full board to consider at its Oct. 19 meeting. If approved, it would take effect next fall. “As the general fund support for institutions declines, we have to be more creative to make sure we have the appropriate level of services that we are providing to all our students, most especially our Connecticut students,” Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State College & Universities system said shortly after the vote. “If we don’t have the appropriate level of revenue in our schools then something is going to fail.”

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Temple's in-state tuition discount ends if Pa. doesn't pass budget, president says - ANDREW PARENT, Philly Voice

If Harrisburg can't end the budget impasse, Temple University students from Pennsylvania may see their in-state tuition discount go by the wayside, the school's president warned. Richard M. Englert penned an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer this week in which he urged the state House of Representatives to come up with a plan to balance the stalled state budget. A state-related university, the North Philadelphia school receives $150 million from Pennsylvania each year, Englert said.

Budget woes prompt changes at Bevill State - Nicole Smith, Daily Mountain Eagle

Bevill State Community College recently made budget cuts that have resulted in laying off 19 employees. Once BSCC Interim President Dr. Kim Ennis discovered mid-summer that the college had been deficit spending for five years, she said she knew eliminating positions would be necessary. After reaching out to the Alabama Community College System’s chancellor’s office, Ennis was informed she would need to make more cuts than expected. “Immediately we knew we needed to make some budget changes, because that’s what anyone would do when they found they were spending more money than their revenues were,” Ennis said. “[The chancellor’s office wanted] us to go a little further than that and protect any reserve money we had. We realized we needed to make some even deeper cuts.”,13260

State-related universities fearful of becoming casualties of Pa.’s ongoing budget impasse - Kevin McCorry, WHYY

The ongoing budget impasse in Harrisburg has been especially frustrating to Pennsylvania’s state-related universities, which have been counting on a roughly $650 million allocation from the state to subsidize lower tuition rates for students who live in the commonwealth. The allocation is negotiated and approved yearly by lawmakers, and this year, in the midst of a long-overdue budget plan, there remains no consensus on how to pay for it. That’s leading some in Harrisburg to fear that these funds could become a casualty of the negotiation process — a way of helping lawmakers avoid enacting some sort of tax hike.

Friday, October 13, 2017

NM’s budget: From flush to cash crunch in 9 years - Dan McKay, Journal

Nine years ago, New Mexico had so much cash that it gave some of the money back. Booming oil prices and the housing bubble helped push the state’s operating budget to $6.8 billion – in inflation-adjusted terms – and the Roundhouse was filled with talk of issuing big rebate checks to taxpayers. But the good times didn’t last. The story of today’s budget is much more volatile, and it’s ticking downward again. In fact, New Mexico’s operating budget, adjusted for inflation, is at its lowest level in five years, and it has fallen 6 percent in the last two years. That’s about $388 million in reduced spending power since the 2016 fiscal year.

UCA’s Davis outlines university priorities; includes 2 percent enrollment goal - Hillary Andrews, Log Cabin Net

For the past two consecutive falls, Davis said UCA’s freshman classes have been off, with a big dip in numbers from 2015’s 2,912 to 2016’s 2,548. This fall, freshman enrollment was 2,518. “Someone asked me what do I really see as the overall enrollment goals,” he said. Davis said UCA should not shy away from the idea of trying to have 2 percent growth in enrollment, which he believes the university has the ability and capacity to do from now until 2022. Some other aspects they looked at, he said, have been encouraging such as transfer numbers being up, graduate student enrollment increases and the incoming freshman class profiles that have continued to show rises in ACT scores and more.

'Can We Afford To Damage UConn?' - BARRY SCHIFFMAN, Hartford Courant

The important question for those of us who live in the state is whether we can afford to damage UConn. The state university is the only viable option for many middle class families to give their children an education, and even then it's still expensive. The state that throws away this opportunity to prepare its youth to prosper is a state that doesn't care about the future. The bean counter only measures the easy stuff. Cost cutting suggestions — like one to make professors teach an extra class — ignore what a good college does. A university is a lot more than hours in classrooms. It's where students find their talents and hone their intellect.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Enrollment slips, but colleges remain optimistic But region's four-year public colleges cite reasons to be upbeat - RACHEL ABBEY MCCAFFERTY, Crain's Cleveland

Northeast Ohio's public, four-year universities all saw enrollment decline this fall, though some still see reason to celebrate. Take, for example, Youngstown State University, which saw a dramatic enrollment drop of nearly 18% from 2010 to 2015 before starting to turn the tide last year. While enrollment may have fallen this year, associate vice president for enrollment planning and management Gary Swegan sees signs of improvement. "We feel very, very good about our enrollment," Swegan said.

Certificates gaining popularity, but students struggle to pay back loans - Pat Donachie, Education Dive

Certificate programs have continued to see an expansion in enrollment. But, many students in these programs are still struggling to pay back education loans, with 44% of certificate students who borrowed in the 2003-04 school year having defaulted by 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal. Considering the default rate, many educators and policymakers have started to see the importance of addressing student ROI from certification programs, as it determines whether students may be able to repay loans from, according to a representative for the Center for American Progress. Some certification programs, like manufacturing have yielded positive results, but the success of others is still unclear. A report this year from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce there is on average more than 30 million jobs with an annual salary around $55,000, which do not require a college degree — which highlights why that more students may be seeking alternative degree options through certificates.

Chancellor Davenport to announce decision on outsourcing - Ciara Hostettler, UT Daily Beacon

Chancellor Beverly Davenport said she will announce her decision in the next few weeks about outsourcing UT facility employees. More than two years ago, Gov. Bill Haslam proposed a plan to outsource management of state facilities to the private sector. The five-year contract was given to Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL), a multinational, Chicago-based, real estate firm that has experience managing some Tennessee properties. But while the contract allows universities to outsource services under JLL, the plan also includes that the company must retain all current state facilities employees, with certain conditions that they pass a background check and drug test.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Battling budgeteers meet, disperse, caucus - Ken Dixon, CT Post

In the never-ending cycle of meetings for the last state without a budget, legislative leaders and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy gathered yet again Thursday, broke off, conferred among themselves, then planned to return to the governor’s office. Malloy said that while the talks may be making some progress, Republicans and Democrats remain “hundreds and hundreds of millions” of dollars apart. Closed-door caucuses started late and drifted into the mid-afternoon, putting into doubt a follow-up, three-way discussion among lawmakers and the governor. Malloy said “very big issues,” including proposed changes to post-employment benefits for state workers and reductions to the University of Connecticut’s budget remain sticking points.

UM programs hope for fewer cuts under new leadership - Maritsa Georgiou , NBC Montana

For the first time since the news broke, NBC Montana spoke with the newly appointed president for the University of Montana. Seth Bodnar tells us he's thrilled to accept the job and sees a lot of potential for the university hit hard by declining enrollment and budget cuts. "I am just incredibly honored to join their team," Bodnar said. "I see my role as a leader, not as someone who's going to walk down from Mount Sentinel with all the answers for the university but someone who's going to work collaboratively with a very diverse group of stakeholders to align on a shared vision for the university."

Pension numbers increase budget pressure on Florida lawmakers - Lloyd Dunkelberger, News Service of Florida

State analysts agreed Thursday to lower the expected rate of return on Florida’s $154 billion pension fund, which will put more pressure on lawmakers as they craft a new state budget. The decrease from a 7.6 percent return to 7.5 percent will require an additional $124 million in state funding in the 2018-2019 budget to keep the pension fund financially sound, according to the state’s long-range fiscal analysis. It’s the fourth year in a row that analysts, meeting as the Florida Retirement System Actuarial Assumption Conference, have lowered the assumed rate of return on the pension fund, which was 7.75 percent in 2013. Amy Baker, coordinator for the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, said more adjustments can be expected given long-term projections for the national and global economies.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Morgan says restructured budget won't cause mass layoffs - Jacob Lindberg, Moorehead State

The reorganization of the Morehead State University budget won’t lead to the dramatic staff or program cuts experienced by other regional universities. The MSU Board of Regents allowed President Morgan the capability to reposition 7.5 percent, or $10 million, of the university’s annual budget during last Thursday’s regular meeting. Morgan contends this will not lead to mass layoffs or complete defunding of academic programs, but will instead ensure the institution adjusts to decreases in state funding.

Collapse of Pennsylvania budget talks leaves higher education aid in limbo Marc Levy, Associated Press

The collapse of budget negotiations left state aid to five Pennsylvania universities in limbo three months into the fiscal year, and a quiet and empty Pennsylvania Capitol on Thursday ensured that the schools will have to wait longer for the money, if they ever get it. House Republican Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said the state needs the money to pay for the aid before the chamber will send the legislation to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. However, House members have been unwilling to deliver a tax package that Wolf deems large enough to help deal with Pennsylvania's entrenched post-recession deficit. The House has no plans to return before Oct. 16.

Some big-name programs at Duke are about to go under a budgetary microscope - RAY GRONBERG, Herald-Sun

Budget watchdogs at Duke University will spend the coming months looking at the finances of 11 flagship programs like the Duke Global Health Institute and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. The review will play out in Duke’s University Priorities Committee, a high-level group of professors, administrators, deans and students that advises President Vince Price. Its chairwoman, Nicholas School of the Environment professor Lori Bennear, said the move comes at the request of Provost Sally Kornbluth. Kornbluth “thought, and I agreed, that it was time to conduct a detailed review of each of” the programs to make sure their “finances are well-aligned with their mission and that the funds are being spent optimally,” Bennear told professors on Duke’s Academic Council recently.