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'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 Courantreported. 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.
Despite headlines about the rising price of a college degree, fewer families are saving money for college and fewer have a plan to pay than in the past, according to a survey released today by Sallie Mae. The annual survey about families' saving habits found that only 50 percent of families with children younger than 18 were saving for college, a drop of 10 percentage points from 2010. On top of that, 16 percent of respondents said they were saving less than the previous year, citing unexpected expenses, higher cost of living, and lower income. When asked to describe their feelings about saving for college, parents were more likely to say that they felt overwhelmed, annoyed, frustrated, or that they don't like thinking about it than they were to say they were confident.
Lincoln Memorial University last week told 13 faculty members, one of whom had taught at the university for 18 years, that their contracts would not be renewed after this academic year, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The job cuts are being made because of projected decreases in enrollment next year. The university's graduate education programs have enrolled many students from Georgia -- educators eligible for raises if they complete certain degrees. Georgia has changed its rules such that completing the programs at Lincoln Memorial will no longer make people eligible for raises. Lincoln Memorial does not have tenure, so faculty members work on year-to-year contracts.
Grinnell won't consider applicants' ability to pay, at least for two years. But college will raise loan limits and try to attract more wealthy students. Is this the future model for elite private higher ed?
Florida Atlantic University has agreed to name its football stadium for a company, GEO Group, that runs private prisons, The New York Times reported. University officials are defending the deal, saying that they need private money for athletics and that GEO officials have strong ties to the institution. A number of groups have over the years raised questions about GEO Group's management of prisons, and some say that the university should not be using a major facility to promote the company.
Harvard University's investment arm has created a new position -- vice president for sustainable investing -- which will focus on the environmental, social and corporate governance issues related to Harvard's investments, The Boston Globe reported. While various groups have over the years urged Harvard to refrain from or sell certain kinds of investments, the university has generally focused on obtaining the greatest return.