Friday, April 23, 2021

Plunging Numbers, Rising Worries - Sara Weissman, Inside Higher Ed

Enrollment at California Community Colleges fell even more than an already shocking national average last fall. Campus leaders hope to stem further declines as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.  The California Community College system had a 12 percent enrollment decline from fall 2019 to fall 2020, a staggering figure for the largest college system in the country and a likely harbinger of the demographic and fiscal challenges that lie ahead for the sector nationally. The downward trend is occurring at community colleges across the country -- the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center recently reported a 9.5 percent decline at community colleges nationwide -- and is being compounded by the acute socioeconomic effects of the pandemic on students.

Amanda Gonzalez Garcia: Florida budget cuts leave students with un-‘EASE’ - Florida Politics

 The Florida House passed a budget for the upcoming year that cuts my Effective Access to Student Education (EASE) voucher, which helps me pay college tuition. This budget cut affects nearly 13,000 students like me, Florida residents who are working hard to earn their college degrees. Tell your lawmakers to stop balancing the budget on the backs of students by funding the EASE voucher. Funding the EASE voucher will help students to finish college and pursue their dreams.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Eastern Washington University with no football? It’s been done at other schools, and here’s what they found - Greg Mason, Spokesman-Review

 EWU spokesman Dave Meany said the university doesn’t know how a divisional change or dropping football would impact overall athletics staffing, although he noted “obviously dropping a sport would have staffing impacts.” While cutting football or dropping to a lower division could lower costs, The PICTOR Group and proponents for the preservation of EWU athletics have warned administrators to look beyond the numbers. In particular, they point to the exposure that Division 1 athletics can bring to a university.

Proposed NH budget now in senate’s court. Who’ll win the culture war? - Garry Rayno, Seacoast Online

 The college loan forgiveness program for graduates in high demand fields like health care is gone, as is a school infrastructure program for broadband and safety measures and a new, 30-bed, secure psychiatric hospital on New Hampshire Hospital grounds.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

WVa lawmakers pass $4.5 billion budget with cuts to colleges - WDTV

 West Virginia lawmakers approved a $4.5 billion budget on Saturday that leaves the state’s two top universities with a combined $28 million cut, unless future surpluses can kick in to cover it. The 23-11 vote in the Senate came on the final day of the 60-day legislative session, during which a Republican supermajority fell short on its top priority of cutting the state’s income tax. Aside from that, Republican Gov. Jim Justice hailed it as a “great session.”

Million-dollar library budget cut hinders resource access, burdens librarians - CATHERINE MCLAUGHLIN, MIddlebury Campus

 The Middlebury College Libraries had its non-personnel budget cut by nearly a third for the 2021 fiscal year, resulting in reduced or delayed access to databases, journals and books, as well as an increasing reliance on interlibrary loan (ILL). This cutback is part of a larger plan to reduce spending in Academic Affairs departments by a third, with the goal of balancing Middlebury’s budget.  As a result of extensive library budget cuts, students and faculty have lost access to — or face new challenges in accessing — needed research materials, and librarians have shouldered the burden of managing the fallout. The budget for fiscal year 2021 is $2,384,502, compared to the budget of $3,404,537 for fiscal year 2021 — a decrease of more than a million dollars.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Pacific Lutheran University will cut 36 positions, eliminate majors to fill budget hole - Allison Needles, KIRO

 Pacific Lutheran University will cut 36 full-time positions to stabilize its budget after a months-long review by faculty of potential reductions. The cuts will eliminate majors in German and Nordic Studies, minors in Classical Studies, German and Norwegian, and the Master of Science in Finance degree, according to a news release shared with The News Tribune. “Our campus continues to embrace our commitment to be an inclusive, rigorous, and innovative university in the Lutheran tradition,” PLU president Allan Belton said in a statement. “PLU has always been accountable to the needs of our students and the vision of our faculty. While difficult, this work is an essential step in our strategic plan, and will allow PLU to remain true to its mission.”

House sinks higher education budget, renewing ‘social justice’ debate - Blake Jones, IDED

 The budgets of Idaho’s higher education institutions remain in limbo after the House Wednesday shot down an effort to allocate some $631.4 million to state colleges and universities. The overwhelming 13-57 vote — after a freewheeling hour-long floor debate — marked the latest chapter in a brewing Statehouse showdown over social justice programs on Idaho campuses.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Funding shortfall due to pandemic will mean costlier parking for some on Texas A&M campus - MEGAN RODRIGUEZ, the Eagle

Texas A&M Transportation services is taking several actions in an effort to make up a more than $16 million deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The adjustments will mean higher parking prices for some people. Changes will include “significant budget cuts” in operating expenses, postponement of capital projects for at least the next two years, elimination of 28 budgeted positions through a hard hiring freeze and adjustments to some permit prices. Students, faculty and staff with parking permits are not the main people who will be affected by rising costs.

Change in budget and demand led to WMU major and minor removal - Mya Vassal & Chloe Miller, Western Herald

Western Michigan University’s Board of Trustees voted to remove a major and minor for the upcoming academic year during their Thursday, March 18 meeting. Satish Deshpande, dean of the Haworth College of Business, said the removal was in response to the marketplace. “When you come into a program, you want a state of the art program where there’s a demand in the marketplace,” Deshpande said. “It’s like selling products. You could be selling the best VCRs out there, but the market doesn’t want VCRs anymore. They’ve moved on to other things.” The Health Informatics and Information Management (HiiM) major and the Automotive Systems minor were the programs removed for next year. Desphande said changes like these in programs are a healthy sign of an institution.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Rutgers contract avoids lay-offs; calls for furloughs, pay freezes (updated) - Daniel J. Munoz, NJ Biz

 A new contract between Rutgers University and some of its largest faculty and staff unions means that thousands of workers will avoid lay-offs until at least Jan. 1 next year in exchange for a series of other cuts. The agreement dated March 24 calls for full-time employees in the union to take 10 furlough days by July 31, or eight days for part-time employees. Members of the AAUP-AFT chapter – which represents 5,000 Rutgers staff – would be furloughed for six days.

University of Iowa Loans $50 Million to Athletics - Emma Whitford, Inside Higher Ed

 Amid its own budget woes, the University of Iowa's main campus will give $50 million to its athletics department via an internal loan, The Gazette reported. The loan will help compensate for some of the athletic department’s mounting COVID-19-related losses, which are expected to climb to at least $74 million. The department will repay the loan over the next 10 to 15 years. Outgoing university president Bruce Harreld also agreed to end an earlier deal that requires the athletics department to give the main campus $2 million each year.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

HACC board adopts budget that projects an enrollment decrease, raises tuition - Paul Vigna, Penn Live

 The Board of Trustees of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, on Tuesday adopted a $130-million 2021-22 budget that projects a 3% decrease in enrollment and a tuition increase. Because of the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the college is projecting a $586,201 revenue shortfall, according to a press release. “Like many colleges and universities around the nation, HACC faces additional enrollment challenges as a result of the unprecedented global pandemic, HACC President and CEO John J. “Ski” Sygielski said.

APC members look toward future after navigating pandemic-related budget cuts - David Berman, Daily Nebraskan

The APC had to address a $38.2 million shortfall in the budget, which Chancellor Ronnie Green accepted in December. “We went through [the programs] with a fine-tooth comb, and ultimately the university accepted our recommendations,” Geisinger said. The only program permanently cut by the university was the hospitality, restaurant and tourism management undergraduate program in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. The intercollegiate athletics administration specialization in the College of Business was also temporarily discontinued.

Friday, April 16, 2021

New proposed U Montana budget model has some students concerned - Russ Thomas, KPAX

UM administrators are proposing a new budget model that will be up for approval in September with some students in the College of Humanities and Sciences saying the model would adversely impact a college that has already seen $10.4 million in cuts since 2015. “We’re looking at a proposed cut of $2.6 million and that proposed budget cut would mean the loss of like 40 to 50 staff members which would be devastating to a lot of our programs," said Junior Maddie Hagan who is pursuing a history and philosophy double major.

Holding a College Budget Hostage Over Planned Parenthood - Colleen Flaherty, Inside HIgher Ed

 North Dakota lawmakers are seriously considering a bill that would punish institutions -- financially and otherwise -- for partnering with an abortion provider, even to administer a successful sex ed program that has nothing to do with abortion.  Using a budget bill as leverage, state lawmakers are pressuring a professor of nursing at North Dakota State University to drop her longtime research project on youth sex education. North Dakota has just one clinic that provides abortions, and it is not part of Planned Parenthood. But the professor’s sex education program is affiliated with Planned Parenthood, which some state lawmakers say is unacceptable.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Boise State University alumni, veterans to the Idaho Legislature: Diversity is important - RAJA PRABHALA, MICHAEL CHENEY, KEVIN WALLIOR AND ACE ARROYO, Idaho Statesman

To the honorable members of the Idaho Senate and House of Representatives, We the undersigned, all of us veterans of the U.S. military and alumni of Boise State University, write to you in support of diversity at our state institutions of higher learning, particularly our alma mater. We have witnessed with concern opposition to Boise State University’s annual budget due to its support of diversity programs. As members of the U.S. armed forces, we served in one of the most diverse institutions in the United States. The U.S. military attracts highly qualified men and women from all 50 states and our U.S. territories who represent a wide variety of creeds, religions, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and other attributes that make the people of this country stronger together. We saw firsthand how that rich diversity of perspective produces innovative solutions.

International Enrollment Drop to Hit Higher Ed's Credit for Years - Rick Seltzer, Inside Higher Ed

The U.S. higher education sector will feel a revenue hit for several years from a low number of international students enrolling in colleges and universities this fall, according to a report issued last week by Moody’s Investors Service. The development has a negative impact on the sector’s credit profile, according to the bond ratings agency. International student enrollments at four-year U.S. colleges and universities fell by 13.6 percent in the fall. A rebound in the upcoming fall may be likely, especially given reports of rising applications from international students, but small classes one year flow on to future years. Several factors could also slow recovery -- coronavirus travel restrictions, reputational effects of hard-line federal immigration policies under former president Trump and increased competition overseas among them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

UK University leaders say governance risks imminent collapse - Andrew Kakabadse, University World News

Some higher education leaders believe as many as 20% of UK universities will not survive in this new environment and some institutions are already failing, while others downsize staff numbers and reduce entry levels in a desperate attempt to increase student numbers. The result is an overall lowering of quality, which the private sector is more than willing to address with their emergent and sophisticated expertise in online programmes.

Hackers target University of Wisconsin System’s database creating concerns for leadership - Joshua Peguero, WEAU

 Banks, federal and state governments, and now you can add the University of Wisconsin System as institutions dealing with hackers. System Schools President Tommy Thompson told state senators on Wednesday the IT infrastructure needs an upgrade and it will be expensive, yet he didn’t allocate funds in his recent budget to fix it. “How easy it is to hack and don’t think were not being hacked,” Thompson said before the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges in a meeting held at UW-Green Bay. “I want to change that, I need your help.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Faculty and Staff Union Worried Higher Ed Funding Will Be Flat - Nick Reisman, Spectrum

 “We had been led to believe that this year, finally, the needs of public higher ed would be addressed after years of budgets that left CUNY and SUNY behind," said PSC-CUNY President Barbara Bowen. "If this budget rejects the tuition increase but fails to add the money the tuition hike would have produced, it will be a betrayal of Black and brown students. The result would be reduced courses and support; freezing tuition without adding the necessary funds would sabotage students’ chance of success while appearing to support them.”  The concerns over the budget for public colleges and universities in New York is especially acute this year following the financial strain put on higher education due to the COVID-19 pandemic.