Thursday, August 25, 2016

Delayed UW Building Projects Could Cost State An Extra $30 Million - Shawn Johnson, WPR

The state Legislature's nonpartisan budget office says the state could have to spend roughly $30 million more on several University of Wisconsin System building projects that were delayed in the last budget. Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers froze bonding for all but a couple building projects in the last budget. That let them continue to borrow for roads while still keeping overall bonding low. The UW System is asking again to fund seven of those projects, only this time, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau says it's projected to cost the state $257.3 million compared to $227.6 million 2015. That’s an increase of $29.7 million. Oshkosh Democratic state Rep. Gordon Hintz, who asked for the Fiscal Bureau memo, said it shows the folly of delaying these projects in the first place.

Research-rich Penn State worries as Congress budget battle looms - ANNA DOUGLAS, McClatchy DC

Major research universities, like Penn State, rely heavily on federal funding in areas like defense, agriculture and energy. Gong Chen is the Verne M. Willaman Chair for Penn State Life Sciences. Projects like the ones he works on rely on federal funds. Imagine more than half of your income subject to the whims of polarized politicians in a turbulent election year. “This is what keeps me up at night,” said Neil Sharkey, Pennsylvania State University’s vice president for research. Sharkey oversees campus research programs and projects worth more than $800 million annually. Federal grants and contracts – spending controlled by Congress each year – make up $510 million, or close to 65 percent, of Penn State’s research spending. With a federal budget fight looming in Congress next month, Penn State and other higher education lobbyists are applying pressure on lawmakers in hopes of avoiding the kind of partisan-fueled budget showdowns that have become common and threaten to grind government to a halt. University advocates also want increased tax-dollar commitments for research projects.

LCCC unveils plan to guide budget cuts - Kristine Galloway, Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Changes – possibly big ones – are coming to Laramie County Community College. LCCC President Joe Schaffer on Wednesday presented to the Board of Trustees a plan of action for tackling upcoming budget cuts. The board approved the plan unanimously. The college is facing $2.5 million in cuts because of declining energy revenue across the state. The Board of Trustees approved in May a plan to balance the 2016-17 budget with cuts to operations, as well as using money from reserves and the one mill tax levy the college receives. But the board agreed that the cuts still would be made for the 2017-18 year. Schaffer said the LCCC administration agreed to bring a proposal for budget cuts to the board by its Dec. 7 meeting. This action plan, known as the Critical Optimization, Realignment and Efficiencies (CORE) Initiative, details the process the administration will use to plan those cuts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

California University of Pa. faculty put on notice about potential layoffs - Jan Murphy, Penn Live

Faculty at California University of Pennsylvania have received notice that layoffs may be coming after the end of the upcoming academic year. University officials cite enrollment challenges and programmatic changes as the reasons layoffs are being considered. "California University of Pennsylvania continues to invest in academic programs. Along with efforts to increase enrollment and retain students, Cal U continually reviews its curriculum in light of both student and workforce needs. This ongoing process necessarily includes taking a hard look at programs where very few students are enrolled," said university spokeswoman Christine Kindl in a prepared statement.

University of Wyoming Financial Crisis Advisory Committee looks for budget options - Thaddeus Mast, Laramie Boomerang

After two months of work, the University of Wyoming Financial Crisis Advisory Committee is making headway in its search for budget reductions at the University of Wyoming, although much work still needs to be completed. Stephen Bieber, director of the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center and chair of the committee, said the entire 13-member group fully understands the situation UW is in. “It’s very complex — almost anything we consider is interwoven,” he said. “We’ve got our head around this notion of how to approach the situation.” The group’s goal is to find $15 million in revenue and cuts for the fiscal year 2018 budget. This would be on top of the about $19 million goal UW President Laurie Nichols is eliminating from the fiscal year 2017 budget, of which she has already identified more than $16 million.

What are the top 10 most popular search engines? - Christopher Ratcliff, ClickZ

You know, apart from the most obvious search engine. And possibly the second most obvious one too. In fact I’ll start again, what are the eight most popular search engines after Google and Bing? The first list below contains the most popular search engines currently available, ordered by most to least popular in the US. The ranking is according to eBiz, it’s in order of estimated unique monthly visitors and is accurate as of August 2016. The second list is a global overview of most popular search engines, according to Net Market Share, which is ranked in order of market share and is again accurate as of August 2016. As opposed to our previous list of search engine alternatives to Google, this list will concentrate purely on informational searches rather than say… Gifs or copyright free images.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

State budget woes a factor in 2 U Illinois professors' departures - Julie Wurth, News-Gazette

Thomas Overbye makes one thing clear: he loves the University of Illinois. He's spent the better part of his career at Illinois — 25 years — as a top professor in the highly ranked Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Like his UI colleagues, he's turned down overtures every year from competing universities. Until last summer. Then there was the uncertainty about education funding and pensions in the UI — even as Texas A&M offered financial incentives to lure him south. "There's a lot of uncertainty here in Illinois, a general feeling on campus that as faculty we don't feel the University of Illinois is that well-supported by the state. The feeling I get in Texas is that the Texas universities are well-supported by the state," Overbye said.

UW Budget Reductions Approach Target for Current Fiscal Year - University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming has realized reductions totaling about $16 million for the current fiscal year, under its target of $19.3 million. While efforts will continue to reach the FY 2017 target, President Laurie Nichols and UW’s Financial Crisis Advisory Committee (FCAC) are proceeding with a process to identify additional cuts totaling $15 million for the following fiscal year. Nichols, who updated the FCAC on the FY 2017 reductions during its regular meeting Friday, says she is pleased the immediate budget-cutting measures approved by the Board of Trustees in June have produced savings that approach the estimates.

Do Illinois' public colleges pay off for students? - GREG HINZ, Crain's Chicago Business

What Third Way did is crunch federal data on things such as tuition, six-year graduation rates, average cost after aid and the percentage of students getting federal Pell Grants to give a composite score to each of the 535 four-year institutes of higher education it examined. Ranked highest, 22nd of 535 schools, is U of I. The average cost—after grants—is a relatively modest $9,801 a year, but the school sports an 84 percent 6-year completion rate. And 77 percent of grads earn at least $25,000 a year six years after enrollment. At 45th, is U I C. Not too far behind are Illinois State and U of I at Springfield, ranked 66th and 115th, respectively. Above the national average are Western, Northern and Eastern Illinois universities, plus Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. They rank 215th to 229th.

Monday, August 22, 2016

UW cuts rise to $16 million - Heather Richard, Caspar Star Tribune

University of Wyoming officials are approaching their goal of slashing $19.3 million from this year’s budget. The state’s only public four-year university has cut 97 vacant positions and seen 55 employees take advantage of early retirement and separation incentives. The current cuts total $16 million. Eliminating positions led to the largest reduction, with a savings of $5.7 million. UW President Laurie Nichols declared a financial crisis at the school in June because of an almost $41 million loss in state funding for the two-year budget cycle. School officials are looking for ways to reduce the 2017 budget by $15 million.

U Of Manitoba Library Jobs Cut In Staff Restructuring - GARETT WILLIAMSON, the Manitoban

The union representing support staff in the University of Manitoba libraries is lamenting the loss of nearly 40 positions resulting from ongoing across the board departmental restructuring efforts. Laurie Morris, president of the Association of Employees Supporting Education Services (AESES), reported to members in an August newsletter that a total 38 positions were discontinued in May, including the elimination of 30 part-time positions and eight full-time slots. While 10 full-time job openings, with new duties and greater responsibility, have been introduced to replace the lost positions, Morris said the cuts will have a direct and negative impact on services. “The staffing resources have now been reduced to, essentially, a skeleton crew with library closures and long wait times likely being the end result,” Morris told the Manitoban in an email.

Kilgore College lowers spending, adopts unchanged tax rate - Jimmy Isaac, Longview News-Journal

Kilgore College trustees approved a balanced $57.5 million spending plan Monday that leaves the tax rate unchanged despite declined property values. "No tax increase is pretty much an impossible task," trustee Joe Carrington said. "I applaud everyone holding the line," board President Larry Woodfin concurred. "We have a number of our peers who are not holding the line." The 2016-17 budget accounts for nearly $380,000 less spending than the current fiscal year, Kilgore College President Brenda Kays said. Administrators recommended no tax increase, no mid-year tuition increase, and not using any of the college's reserve funds to balance the 2017 plan.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

U Wyoming considers beer sales at athletic events to raise revenue - Associated Press

The Wyoming athletics department is considering allowing the sale of beer at sporting events to help make up for budget cuts. "There's no chance of it happening this year, but there is more discussion amongst leadership, in athletics, at least, about whether it's time to push for it," Wyoming athletics director Tom Burman told the Casper Star-Tribune ( ). Burman says the option has to at least be considered given recent financial challenges facing the state, university and athletics department. The state has cut the university's budget by $35 million because of a decline in state revenue, and athletics has seen its budget cut. "Our competition is doing it," Burman said. "We at least have to take a look at it. We are looking at every revenue stream very closely and every expense line item very closely, and we owe it to the citizenry of Wyoming to figure out how to generate more dollars."

NEO not slowed by budget cuts - Jim Ellis, Miami News Record

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College is looking into the future. While the school’s budget has been shredded due to recurring state budget failures, NEO officials are forging ahead with several new initiatives, some already under way and some targeted for the future. NEO has received nearly $1.5 million less than its previous year’s state appropriation and since the arrival of Dr. Jeff Hale as president in 2008, appropriations have been slashed by almost 30 percent. “We have a plan.” Those plans include new student housing, a modernization of the school’s fiber optic network, a new academic support program, an honors program and the continuation of renovation work and improvements at the Synar Farm.

Louisiana Spotlight: College costs growing, with state covering less - the Advocate

As college students begin to return to class across Louisiana's public college campuses this week, many of them are likely experiencing a bit of sticker shock. The price tag for classes continues to cost more and more with tuition and fee increases. And this year comes with a new twist as the TOPS program no longer covers the full cost of tuition at a public college, with a small hit taking hold this fall and the larger hit coming in the spring semester. In June, Gov. John Bel Edwards asked college leaders for "zero or minimal increases" in tuition, noting the schools received a nearly standstill budget in the current 2016-17 financial year. Louisiana's college systems didn't pay much attention to the governor's request. Some schools skipped the tuition hikes — only to raise other fees, many by sizable amounts. Some campuses, like LSU's main campus in Baton Rouge, hit students with a double whammy, both larger tuition costs and higher fees.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

How To Manage That Crushing Student Loan Debt - Christie Garton, Huffington Post

As a student or even as a post-grad, student loan debt can take over your life and affect your performance academically or in the workplace. For students, juggling their personal finances can be equally tricky as most college-aged kids are getting their first exposure to “the real world” and learning how to make their dollar stretch. Here is some advice and best practices for college students and recent grads who feel like they’re being crushed by their personal and student loan debt.

FAMU's enrollment decline impacts athletics - Jordan Culver, Tallahassee Democrat

As enrollment at Florida A&M continues to decline, the school's athletic department, which is already battling monetary woes, is preparing to withstand another financial hit. FAMU Athletic Director Milton Overton Jr. said the athletic department is projecting a student fee drop of at least $600,000 for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Enrollment at FAMU last fall was at 9,920. That number is expected to drop to 9,000 for the 2016-17 school year. Overton has said he plans to grow the athletic department's budget to $15.7 million in four years. The department's 2015-16 budget was $8,717,500.

Albany State athletics working with a tight budget - Chauntel Powell, Albany Herald

As expected with the merger of Albany State University and Darton State College, there will be some growing pains. Such is the case in the athletic department. While the coaches were named for each sport, the university is still searching for an athletic director, leaving a lot of questions unanswered, particularly in the matter of budgeting. Lea Henry, Darton’s current athletic director, said the two schools are currently acting as separate entities in terms of budgeting for athletics. Darton athletes will be able keep their scholarship status until the 2017-18 school year.

Friday, August 19, 2016

State funding impacts university system - Daniel Keith, WAOW

University of Wisconsin leaders plan to ask the state for more than $40 million in additional funding and to lift a tuition freeze that went into effect four years ago. They're calling on Gov. Scott Walker to reinvest in the schools. According to budget briefing report released by the university system, in 1973, 50 percent of funding for the system came from the state, while today that number is down to 13 percent. That same report shows that enrollment into state schools are continuing to rise, but funding from the state is steadily declining.

Higher ed tightens budgets - Kurt Munz-Raper, Portales News Tribune

Portales and Clovis education systems are taking precautionary measures by tightening their fiscal belts, despite current state budget cuts not affecting education, according to state officials. According to a Tuesday Associated Press story, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has requested state institutions cut back budget spending by 5 percent. Eastern New Mexico University and Clovis Community College officials said they anticipate budget cuts but are not expecting cuts to higher education unless the state holds a special session.

Editorial: Higher ed layoffs have steep price - Patagraph

A number of downstate public universities might consider changing policies to avoid the expensive lesson learned by Chicago State University. CSU, like Illinois State, the University of Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois, is a state-supported public university. Like its brethren, the university received far less state money in the last year because of the state's financial problems. A recent investigation by the Chicago Tribune, using documents sought under the state's open records law, shows the CSU layoffs resulted in high expenses because of notification laws. "The mass layoffs, unusual in higher education, came with a cost: $2.2 million, the bulk of it in severance pay mandated by a longstanding school policy that requires up to a year's notice of being terminated or a payout for the time. It's a policy common at Illinois public universities but generous compared with what is provided by most schools in other states," the Tribune recently reported.