New Realities in Higher Education
With the number of articles about the financial difficulties in higher education increasing in frequency, it was bound to happen that someone would create a blog to track some of those articles. Ray Schroeder, Director of COLRS/OTEL and a Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois has done that.
New Realities in Higher Education is the name of his blog (and you can find it at http://www.recessionreality.blogspot.com/). I signed up for the email feed and have received a daily email with several new articles posted each day. The majority of the articles are about public colleges and universities and the impact on expenditures and tuition due to the state funding reductions generated by the recession’s impact on the tax revenues in most states. In states where the real estate crash was felt first (like Arizona), the crunch is significant. More people plan to return to college, but with their funding crunch, the public two and four year colleges may not have room for them.
There is a general lesson about economics and practical business sense that will be learned painfully. Many colleges and universities made commitments to spend all of the increased revenues they received during the good years (just like most of the states spent their increased tax revenues). When decisions are made in that manner, retrenching is difficult. Most economists note that there are economic cycles and that downturns occur. The issue in question is the duration of the particular cycle that we are in. No one knows how long this particular downturn cycle will last but it will undoubtedly impact students, institutions, and the states for quite a while.