The Louisiana State University System is drafting a plan to declare financial exigency, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, has proposed massive cuts for higher education and the Legislature's various versions of his budget have added to the cuts, which now appear to total more than 80 percent of state funds for LSU. While various plans have circulated to restore some of the money, those plans haven't advanced, which has prompted the financial exigency plan. Under financial exigency, it is generally easier for a university to make deep cuts. And because such statements mean that the survival of an institution is in danger, the American Association of University Professors permits layoffs to include tenured professors.
F. King Alexander, president and chancellor of LSU, said that declaring financial exigency would send a terrible message about the state of the institution. “You'll never get any more faculty,” he said.
A monthslong review by the University of Alaska at Fairbanks has concluded with a decision to eliminate six degree offerings in an effort to cut $14 million, Newsminer.com reported. The philosophy, engineering management and science management degrees will be eliminated, and certain degree offerings in chemistry, music and sociology will also be ended.
A group of three Senate Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, this week introduced a resolution promoting debt-free public college. Several Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives put forward an accompanying proposal. The brief Senate resolution describes a plan to help states pay more for higher education, to increase financial aid to cover students' living expenses and to encourage innovation that would make college more affordable.
“A student at a public university today faces tuition prices that are more than 300 percent of what his or her parents faced just 30 years ago, and total outstanding student loan debt now stands at a staggering $1.3 trillion,” Warren said in a written statement. “Our country should be investing in higher education and working with colleges and universities to bring down tuition costs so that students don't have to take on crushing debt to get an education.”
The Washington Postreported that the push, which two liberal groups are supporting, is intended to encourage Hillary Clinton to make the plan part of her campaign proposals. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Demos released a policy paper this week that attempts to flesh out the plan. The groups are arranging events at 10 college campuses this week to promote it.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison plans to cut 400 positions and drastically trim its budget, a response to Republican Governor Scott Walker's plan to cut $300 million from the UW system over the next two years. In a blog post on Friday, Madison Chancellor Becky Blank said the university is facing a "structural deficit that may be as much as $96 million as a result of state budget cuts in the upcoming year." Meanwhile Walker, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination, said earlier this week that the state might reduce funding less than originally planned, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Catholic University of America has eliminated 37 positions through buyouts and layoffs, The Washington Post reported. The university is trying to cut costs in the wake of declining enrollment in its law school and architecture school.
A report being issued today by Moody’s finds that the wealthiest American colleges and universities are getting wealthier at a faster rate than other institutions, The Wall Street Journalreported. This is largely a continuation of a longtime trend. The wealthiest institutions are elite universities that attract large donations and use sophisticated investment strategies that rarely are available to institutions with small endowments. The new Moody's report says the wealthiest 10 universities in fiscal 2014 held almost one-third of cash and investments at four-year colleges and universities, while the top 40 had two-thirds.
Ohio State University at Newark is planning to eliminate varsity athletics programs, The Newark Advocate reported. Officials cited the need to cut costs at a time of declining state support. The university currently has six varsity teams.
Lawmakers tout improvements tied to Florida's second year of performance-based funding. But is it a coincidence that the system punishes its campus most focused on liberal arts and the one most focused on serving low-income students?
George Washington University is laying off 46 administrative employees, The Washington Post reported. The move comes as the university moves to cut all administrative units by 5 percent to deal with lost revenue from a decline in graduate enrollment.