Jennifer A. Delaney, a professor of educational organization and leadership, says that in every decade since the 1980s, it has taken progressively longer for state appropriations for higher education to recover from previous cuts.
“The time it takes to recover from cuts is increasing, and it has lengthened to such an extent that if there are further cuts, institutions may never recover those funds,” Delaney said. “If it takes a decade or longer to bounce back, it almost doesn’t even count as a recovery.”
State appropriations for higher education tend to follow a cyclical pattern, with a decrease in funding during lean years followed by a restoration of funding when the economy improves. But the old assumptions that institutions and administrators worked under in the past – that is, take a cut this year but expect the money to be restored in a few years – doesn’t work anymore because the projected timeline for state appropriations to higher education to recover has become so long, Delaney says.
“Compared to the previous two decades, the length of time for recovery is increasing,” she said. “The time horizon has gone from 76 percent of states restoring higher education funding following a cut within five years in the 1980s to only 58 percent of states restoring higher education funding following a cut within five years in the 1990s. Between 2000 and 2007, fewer than 40 percent of states that had cut higher education recovered in five years and, during the 2000s, 25 percent of states that had cut higher education funding show no signs of recovery.”
Typically, higher education budgets have been looked at as the “balance wheel” for state budgets, Delaney said.
“Higher education is rare among state budget categories in that it can raise outside revenue through tuition, making it an attractive target during an economic downturn,” she said. “During an economic downturn, states generally don’t increase rent for prisoners or tuition for public K-12 students, but it’s very easy for higher education to raise outside revenues through tuition increases to make up for the loss of state support, an ability that most other state budget categories lack. The state can cut higher education funding with the knowledge that universities will be able to survive the cut because they can tap into alternative revenue sources.”
The quick and easy but ultimately short-sighted solution for higher education, according to Delaney, is to turn to students and families to fill in the gap.
“Ironically, one of the factors that predicts an increased length of time to restoring funding to pre-recessionary levels is increasing tuition,” she said. “Tuition increases may actually stall recovery of state funding because the state lawmakers could look at the situation this way: ‘They don’t need our help, they have already replaced the state funds. So why restore state funds to higher education when there are so many competing state priorities?’
“It’s a short-term fix that could result in a long-term cost.”
Institutional leaders, Delaney says, need to be aware of that when they’re making decisions about setting tuition levels, because what she calls the “quick recovery mindset” is no longer operative.
“Administrators need to start treating these cuts as if they’re permanent,” she said. “I would hope that administrators start to think and plan not with the mindset their predecessors had in the ’80s and ’90s, where if higher education is cut, state appropriations will eventually come back and everything will be fine. There’s no promise that the state money is ever coming back, and if it does it could take many years.”
Delaney says that states that have clear policy goals for higher education usually don’t suffer as much as states where state funding for higher education is less clearly tied to state priorities. But no matter where you live, Delaney said, it’s not a good environment for higher education right now.
“Most state budgets aren’t doing well and in bad budget times, higher education is often one of the first state spending categories on the chopping block” she said.
Phil Ciciora | EurekAlert!
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences