institutionalfinance

Prof Sues Columbia J-School on Use of Endowed Fund

A prominent professor at Columbia University's journalism school has sued the institution, charging it with misusing an endowment fund, The New York Times reported. Sylvia Nasar, co-director of the business journalism program and author of A Beautiful Mind, charges that Columbia was supposed to match a $1.5 million gift for an endowed chair Nasar holds, so that Nasar or others holding the chair would have funds both for salary and research. Instead, the suit charges, Columbia didn't match the funds and Nasar had to pay for many of her research expenses. Columbia has declined to comment on the suit, saying it does not discuss litigation.

 

Think Tank's Report Documents Impact of State Higher Ed Cuts

A Washington think tank that focuses on the impact of government policy decisions on low-income students issued a report Tuesday aimed at documenting the extent of state budget cuts for higher education and arguing that they are hurting students and state economies. The report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities largely mirrored the findings of recent studies by the State Higher Education Executive Officers and others.

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Daniels Begins Cost-Cutting at Purdue

In order to make good on an earlier pledge to freeze tuition for at least two years, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, formerly Indiana's Republican governor, announced in a letter Monday that the university would be looking for at least $40 million in savings over the biennium. "It has been too easy in higher education for institutions to decide first what they would like to spend, and then raise student bills to produce the desired funds," Daniels wrote. "That approach has run its course. At Purdue, we will make our first goal affordability, accommodating our spending to students’ budgets and not the other way around."

As a first step toward accomplishing those savings, Daniels announced that he would eliminate merit pay raises for all senior administrators, deans and administrative and professional staff with salaries of more than $50,000 for the next two years, a move projected to save $5 million. The freeze would not apply to faculty members. He also said in a Faculty Senate meeting Monday to expect additional announcements later this month.

College of the Atlantic Sells Fossil Fuel Investments

The College of the Atlantic announced this week that its board voted to sell all fossil-fuel-related investments. The move follows a student push -- at that college and elsewhere -- to sell investments in companies whose businesses they believe are harmful to the environment. A spokeswoman for the college said that the total endowment is about $30 million and that the value of investments sold to comply with the policy was just under $1 million.

 

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Calvin College and others see increased debt burden as revenues falter

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Weak revenue streams, particularly investment returns, are putting pressure on debt service obligations at private colleges, meaning programs and other costs could be cut.

Penn State Releases Details on Cost of Investigation

Pennsylvania State University on Monday revealed details on the cost of the outside investigation it commissioned into the Jerry Sandusky scandal, including the cost ($8.1 million) paid to the law firm that produced what is known as the Freeh Report, The Centre Daily Times reported. Those expenses bring the total expenses to date for the scandal to $41 million.

 

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Towson Eliminates Two Men's Teams, Reinstates One

Towson University announced Friday that it would eliminate its men's soccer and baseball teams, while reinstating men's tennis. The shifts are designed to help the university reduce its athletic deficit and comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The Baltimore Business Journal reported that although 61 percent of Towson undergraduates are women, only about 52 percent of athletic slots go to women (some estimates of the women's share are higher, although still below the 61 percent figure). In 2012, the athletics department had a deficit of $1.36 million.

State Appropriations Per Student Fell Again in 2012, but Enrollment Peaked

The large college enrollment growth seen in the post-recession period leveled off between 2011 and 2012, but continued state budget cuts meant that public colleges and universities saw a 9 percent decline in per-student state appropriations between 2011 and 2012, according to a report released today by the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The report, a followup to one released in January, finds that while spending increased in three of every five states, those increases were small, and when coupled with large decreases in states like California, amounted to an overall decline.

Public colleges and universities have tried to make up the difference through tuition increases. Net tuition revenue as a share of general operating revenues (excluding grants for research and auxiliary functions) grew from 31.6 percent in 2008 to 42.5 percent in 2012. Since 2002, enrollment at public universities has increased 28 percent, according to the report.

“One year does not make a trend, but SHEEO’s annual studies document a long-term trend toward shifting more of the burden of financing higher education onto tuition and fees," said SHEEO President Paul Lingenfelter in a press release. "In light of these trends, policymakers should give more attention to the size and effectiveness of state and institutional student assistance programs in providing access and adequate support for full-time enrollment in postsecondary education.

As with similar studies, the overall trend masks deep differences between states. While some states, such as Iowa, have seen significant declines in per-student appropriations that tuition hikes have not been able to compensate for, other states, particularly North Dakota, have seen robust growth in enrollments, per-student spending and tuition prices that leave them in much better positions than in 2000.

Connecticut 2-Year College Drops Sports Program

Connecticut's Manchester Community College has decided to end its three remaining sports programs, citing a desire to use the program's $370,000 annual costs for other purposes given its limited resources, the Hartford Courant reported. Manchester's decision, which President Gena Glickman said she made reluctantly given that athletics is an important "access point" for students who tend to graduate at a high rate, will leave Gateway Community College as the only two-year institution in the state with a sports program, down from nine two decades ago, the Courant said.
 

Plan to increase faculty workload in Ohio resurfaces in budget bill

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Ohio Governor John Kasich will once again use this year's budget fight to increase faculty workload at public institutions.

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