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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.



Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In July 2016, he retired as APUS president and continued as CEO of APEI. In September 2017, he was reappointed APUS president after the resignation of Dr. Karan Powell. In September 2019, Angela Selden was named CEO of APEI, succeeding Dr. Boston who will remain APUS president until his planned retirement in June 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. During his tenure, APUS grew to over 100,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 90,000 alumni. In addition to his service as a board member of APUS and APEI, Dr. Boston is a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, a board member of the Presidents’ Forum, and a board member of Hondros College of Nursing and Fidelis, Inc. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus.


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