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North Carolina Voters Approve Bonds for Higher Ed

North Carolina voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a proposal to issue $2 billion in bonds, most of which will finance facilities in higher education, The Charlotte Observer reported. About $1 billion will be spent on facilities at University of North Carolina campuses, and about $350 million at community colleges.

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Dowling Plans Affiliation to Address Financial Woes

Dowling College, a financially struggling institution in New York, announced Tuesday that it will affiliate with an academic partner, the identity of which the college didn't reveal, Newsday reported. The college also said it is undertaking efforts to save money. The college's enrollment is about 2,000, down from 4,500 in 2009.

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Delaware State Ends 23 Academic Programs

Delaware State University will cut 23 majors this fall, The Wilmington News Journal reported.

The 23 majors, which represent a quarter of the university’s programs, were chosen based on their low enrollment numbers. The university hopes the change will save $900,000 by 2020, and the savings will be invested in higher-growth programs.

The university has promised that faculty members won’t face layoffs or reductions in hours as a result of the cuts. While students will no longer be able to major in certain programs, lower-level classes will still exist in some cases. And in the meantime, all current students enrolled in one of the 23 majors will be able to finish their studies.

The university’s board voted on the change in January, going against the recommendation of a faculty and staff committee. The News Journal noted that the cuts were made “quietly,” a characterization that the university disputes. “There was a lot of discussion,” university spokesman Carlos Holmes told NewsWorks. “It was quiet to the News Journal because they didn’t attend the board meeting.”

Liberal arts majors, like foreign language and education programs, suffered most of the cuts. The savings will go toward programs like criminal justice, agriculture and applied chemistry.

Since the decision was finalized, some faculty members praised the changes, arguing that the scrapped programs were barely in use, while others argued that the programs were vitally important despite their low enrollment numbers. "The university used a hatchet instead of a scalpel to make cuts," Samuel Hoff, a professor of history and political science, said in an email. "The cuts are hurting students in the areas eliminated. The university is measuring efficiency entirely by numbers and profit rather than by learning, performance and consistency with DSU’s mission."

University Furloughs Employees for Spring Break

This year, all faculty and staff at Morehead State University will be spending their spring break on furlough without pay.

Facing a $2.6 million tuition shortfall and a proposed $1.95 million cut in state funding, the university needs to cut costs by $4.5 million, the Lexington Herald Leader reported. President Wayne Andrews announced the furlough Thursday.

The proposed cut in state funding presents an exceptional challenge, Andrews wrote in an email to the campus. By the time it was announced, late in the fiscal year, most of the university’s discretionary resources had already been spent or committed.

“These cuts, and the additional cuts proposed, strain our ability to provide affordable access to quality academic programs, to educate students for careers and jobs so important to the advancement of our great state, and to take care of our community,” he wrote.

Some critical staff, who need to work over spring break, will schedule their furlough later.

College Endowments Fall as Fiscal Year Starts

In the first six months of fiscal year 2016, college endowments lost an average of 3.8 percent.

That number comes from a new analysis by Bloomberg, which compiled data from a dozen U.S. college endowment funds. Indiana University’s fund, which declined 6.1 percent, suffered the greatest loss. At 1.8 percent, Pennsylvania State University’s fund declined the least.

The numbers are worse than last year’s, when endowments grew 2.4 percent. And even 2.4 percent growth was considered disappointing compared with the two previous years, which saw returns in the double digits.

Colleges told Bloomberg that the low returns so far could be due to China’s stock market crash, a downturn in the global equities market and the rising U.S. dollar, among other reasons.

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In Illinois and Pennsylvania, budget stalemates force colleges to cover their losses

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In Illinois and Pennsylvania, eight-month budget stalemates threaten the future of public higher education.

UCLA Sells Its Royalty Rights to Drug for $520 Million

The University of California at Los Angeles announced Friday that it has sold its royalty interest in a leading prostate cancer medication, Xtandi, for $520 million. The rights were co-owned by several entities and people, including UCLA and those who while researchers at UCLA did work that led to the drug's creation. UCLA plans to use the proceeds to support research programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate scholarships.

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President wins an award for cutting tenured faculty jobs

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Carolyn Stefanco, president of the College of Saint Rose, cut 23 faculty positions and 12 academic programs. She won a prize for her efforts.

Budget Impasse Could Force Major Cuts at Penn State

Pennsylvania continues to operate without a state budget for the current fiscal year. Eric Barron, president of Pennsylvania State University, warned Friday that if the budget impasse is not resolved, 1,100 Penn State employees will be subject to layoffs and agriculture extension offices will be closed this summer, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Hamilton, U of Georgia Mark Leap Day

Hamilton College is using today's leap day for a fund-raising campaign. The college is trying to set a record in the number of donors it has had on a single day, and one trustee has pledged to match every gift (regardless of size) with $100. A video urges alumni to "take a leap" for the college.

The University of Georgia has produced its own leap day video, focused on why we have leap years and some students whose birthday is Feb. 29.

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