Saturday, June 3, 2023

Cal State’s revenue only covers 86% of costs — and the gap is widening - Laura Spitalniak, Higher Ed Dive

California State University is facing budgetary shortfalls that need to be addressed partly through tuition increases, according to a report released this week by the system’s leaders. In the 2021-2022 academic year, Cal State’s revenue only covered 86% of its costs, the report said. That year, the system operated with a budget of $12.4 billion, according to the California legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office. This gap is expected to widen as Cal State faces aging infrastructure, growing salary costs and inflation.

Why Colleges Should Pay Attention to Strikes by Their Most Precarious Teachers - Robert Ubell, EdSurge

There’s a news story in higher ed that’s not getting enough attention. The nation’s adjuncts are rising up. Just a few weeks ago at Rutgers University, for instance, adjuncts, grad students and others held a five-day strike over unequal treatment compared to other academic employees. In the end, after a year of contract negotiations, they won a big jump in pay and benefits. Similar scenes are playing out across the country. This year alone, adjunct faculty on 12 campuses went on strike, and in many cases winning pay gains and other concessions.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Professor Association Blasts Florida’s “Unparalleled” Assault on Higher Education - Isabela Dias, Mother Jones

On Wednesday, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expected to announce he’s entering the 2024 presidential race in the evening, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released a damning report on the state of higher education in the potential candidate’s home state. “Academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance in Florida’s public colleges and universities,” the association concluded, “face a politically and ideologically driven assault unparalleled in US history.” The “onslaught” led by DeSantis and the Republican-led legislature “threatens the very survival of meaningful higher education in the state, with dire implications for the entire country.”

Cuts to the CSCU budget could devastate - Venezia Michalsen, Connecticut Mirror OP/ED

I am a professor of Sociology and Criminology at Southern Connecticut State University. I spent the year incredibly impressed with my students’ work, their openness to thinking outside the box, and their enthusiasm for learning and planning their futures. But my most indelible impression from this first year is how these students devoted themselves to learning even as they were dealing with incredible pressure. When I taught in class about the proposed budget changes, students spoke about their stress and fear about what may come given the proposed legislative budget, what it means for higher education in our state, and most importantly what it would mean about their ability to stay in school at all.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Merger Watch: Opinions on corporate restructuring in higher education - Ricardo Azziz, Higher Ed Dive

Ricardo Azziz has held numerous executive positions in higher education and led the merger that resulted in Georgia Regents University, now Augusta University. He is principal at Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education Consulting Group. Linked below you can find the installments of his regular Merger Watch opinion series on corporate restructuring in higher education.

Over half of adults say the financial benefits of attending college outweigh its costs -Natalie Schwartz, Higher Ed Dive

Just over half of adults who attended college said the lifetime financial benefits of their higher education outweigh the costs, according to an annual survey on U.S. financial well-being from the Federal Reserve. Around one-fifth of adults suggested higher education wasn’t worth the costs, while the remainder said the associated benefits and the expenses were about the same. These assessments depended on several factors, including where adults attended college, whether they completed their programs and whether they have outstanding student loans. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

State funding for higher ed surpasses pre-Great Recession levels - Natalie Schwartz, Higher Ed Dive

State funding for higher education increased 4.9% in 2022 when adjusted for inflation, rising for the 10th straight year, according to an annual report from State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. This also marks the first time since 2008 that per-student funding exceeded levels seen before the Great Recession, which ushered in massive state funding declines. In 2022, funding per full-time equivalent student reached $304, up 3.1% compared to 2008. 

A Nearly 150-Year-Old New York College Is Forced to Close After Failing to Sell Itself - Skylar Woodhouse, Bloomberg

Medaille University, a nearly 150-year old private university in Buffalo, New York, is closing its doors after failing to sell itself to a nearby college. Universities across the country are facing more financial pressure as fewer students enroll and expenses rise. Medaille’s enrollment fell to about 1,537 full-time students in 2021 from about 2,340 a decade earlier.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Undergraduate losses slow — but enrollment is still well below pre-COVID levels - Laura Spitalniak, Higher Ed Dive

Undergraduate enrollment in spring 2023 slipped just 0.2% from the previous year, representing a loss of some 25,000 students, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. While this is an improvement over the 3.9% decline the previous spring, undergraduate enrollment remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

Governor warns GOP proposals ‘would cripple the state’s public education’ - Charles Duncan, Spectrum Local News

 North Carolina’s governor said Republican proposals on teacher pay, school vouchers and education culture wars are threatening public education. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said Monday the state faces a “public education emergency” if the GOP-controlled General Assembly gets its way with education legislation. He called on people to contact their legislators.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Bain warns of ‘perilous environment’ for colleges as COVID-19 relief dries up - Natalie Schwartz, Higher Ed Dive

Over the past decade, institutions’ expenses outpaced their tuition increases, putting some in precarious financial positions. Although higher education experts feared the pandemic would exacerbate these issues, many colleges instead saw their finances improve through federal relief funding, budget cuts and historic investment returns. However, the report’s authors expect these gains to be shortlasting. They predict the higher education sector’s level of financial stability will fall below pre-pandemic levels within the next three years. 

DePaul University Facing $56 Million Budget Gap and Shrinking Enrollment - Legal Insurrection

Largest Catholic University in US Faces $56 Million Budget Gap.  DePaul University is facing financial pressure after the pandemic intensified declining enrollment and widened the Chicago private school’s budget gap. To narrow the growing gap between revenue and expenses the largest Catholic university in the US is starting to cut its budget. It is offering a voluntary separation program to about 15% of the school’s 1,400 full-time staff and administration, according to an April 4 notice by DePaul University President Robert Manuel, faculty are ineligible. School officials project a shortfall of $56 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1, barring cost-cutting measures.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Texas poised to fund community colleges based on student outcomes - Kate McGee, Texas Tribune

Texas community college advocates are cheering after the Senate unanimously approved a House bill Friday to fund the state’s community colleges based on how many of their students graduate with a degree or certificate or transfer to a four-year university. Currently, schools are largely funded based on the number of hours students spend in a classroom. While the Senate version included some changes, bill sponsor state Rep. Gary VanDeaver told The Texas Tribune the House is likely to accept them and send the legislation to the governor, rather than kick it to a conference committee for lawmakers to discuss the differences between the two versions.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace - Rachel Minkin, Pew Research

A majority of U.S. workers say focusing on DEI at work is a good thing, but relatively small shares place great importance on diversity in their own workplace.  Most workers have some experience with DEI measures at their workplace. About six-in-ten (61%) say their company or organization has policies that ensure fairness in hiring, pay or promotions, and 52% say they have trainings or meetings on DEI at work. Smaller shares say their workplace has a staff member who promotes DEI (33%), that their workplace offers salary transparency (30%), and that it has affinity groups or employee resource groups based on a shared identity (26%). Majorities of those who have access to these measures say each has had a positive impact where they work.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

The college degree gap between Black and white Americans was always bad. It’s getting worse - Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report

As states push back against diversity programs, and the Supreme Court considers whether to eliminate affirmative action in admissions, a central question remains: whether the playing field has finally been leveled, especially between white and Black Americans who aspire to college educations and the higher quality of life they bring. The answer? Not only has this equity divide failed to narrow — it’s getting worse. “In a way, we’re in the worst of all possible worlds for civil rights, because people think a lot of problems have been solved,” said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.

University of Vermont faculty alleges deficient pay in state labor board complaint - Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Higher Ed Dive

A union representing about 800 University of Vermont faculty filed a complaint with the state’s labor board Tuesday, accusing administrators of improperly increasing their workloads. United Academics told the Vermont Labor Relations Board that university officials had not compensated faculty for time spent training in a new learning management system, or LMS, and that they refused to bargain over the issue.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Ohio Senate bill restricting DEI, tenure advances over widespread objections - Laura Spitalniak, Higher Ed Dive

The Ohio Senate passed a far-reaching state higher education bill Wednesday despite widespread opposition, including from Ohio State University’s trustee board and a free speech advocacy group. The bill, approved on a 21-10 vote, would largely ban diversity, equity and inclusion training efforts at public colleges, bar institutions from taking positions on “controversial” topics and establish post-tenure reviews. In a public statement, the Ohio State board said Tuesday that the bill threatens to impair academic rigor and limit dialogue in the classroom by pushing faculty to avoid challenging topics. 

Senate hearing highlights AI harms and need for tougher regulation - Darrell M. West, Brookings

Along with tools launched by other firms, ChatGPT has democratized technology by bringing tremendous computing power to search, data analysis, video and audio generation, software development, and many other areas. Generative AI has the power to alter how people find information, generate new audio and videos, create new products, and respond in real time to emerging events. At the same time, though, several issues have emerged that concern consumers, academic experts, and policymakers. Among the worrisome problems include harmful content, disinformation, political favoritism, racial bias, a lack of transparency, workforce impact, and intellectual property theft. Altman’s testimony, along with that of IBM Vice President Christina Montgomery and New York University Professor Gary Marcus, provided a chance to explain generative AI and gave legislators an opportunity to express their reservations about its impact on society, the economy, and elections.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Upper Iowa University announces layoffs, site closures - Vanessa Miller, the Gazette

Northeast Iowa’s 166-year-old Upper Iowa University is cutting 37 positions and closing seven of its more than 20 regional education centers due to dropping enrollment, shifting student needs and headwinds facing all of higher education. The cuts include 22 layoffs at the private university’s main campus in Fayette and 15 positions lost in Upper Iowa’s closure of its single Illinois location in Rockford and six Wisconsin sites, including locations in Madison and Milwaukee.

Small details fill Florida’s big state budget - News Service of Florida

Florida lawmakers this month passed a record $117 billion budget that covers more than 500 pages and includes high-profile issues such as money for schools, health care, environmental projects and road construction. But also tucked inside the spending plan are more than 1,500 projects pushed by individual lawmakers and fine print that details how tax dollars must be used. The budget, which will take effect July 1, still needs approval from Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has line-item veto power. Here are examples of some of the details included in the budget:

— $1.75 million for a meat-processing and training facility in Newberry. A funding request by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, and Rep. Chuck Clemons, R-Newberry, said the purpose is “to serve small cattle, pig, sheep and goat ranchers within a 100-mile radius. It will also provide high-skill workforce training in butchery and other value-added meat processes in coordination with UF/IFAS and Santa Fe College.”

— $8 million for the Florida State University Institute for Politics to implement “an online accurately depicted statewide history program adhering to all state standards.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

No tuition hike at Georgia colleges and universities despite $66 million budget cut - Ross Williams, Now Habersham

Most Georgia college students will pay about the same tuition and fees this fall, but University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue warned that a state budget cut could put college presidents in a tough position. “They’re under a tremendous amount of pressure,” he said. “We need to recognize that and thank them and help them the best we can. We’re about to reach a tipping point here at our university system, where we’re going to need more resources in the future to maintain the quality of our academic programs and our college experiences so that our students and families continue to receive a great education for the money here.”