Creating the Tipping Point - Blog

Getting Political - tracking what they say

August 21, 2007

The Education Writers Association recently launched a blog monitoring what the presidential candidates are saying about education issues.  It explores both K-12 and higher education policy issues.  This will be a useful service to help educate advocates where the presidential candidates stand.

I will add an RSS feed from the Education Election blog to this web site so that you can track the candidates from the EDUadvocates web site.

Legislators call for changes in Higher Education

November 28, 2006

Over the last few months there have been a string of reports highlighting the challenges in higher education. A report released yesterday by a bi-partisan commission at the National Conference of State Legislators called on state legislators to take a leadership role in addressing funding and accountability issues within higher education.

This report was one of the first to recognize the pressures that higher education institutions have faced with decreasing state support. “Higher ed can get short shrift in tough budget times because it has the built-in funding source of tuition.”

"We call state legislators to action," said Wisconsin Representative Rob Kreibich, co-chair of NCSL's Commission. "They have the power to demand that we do better, to demand that we think of higher education not as the balance wheel of budgets, but as an investment in our future."

Read a summary of the report here:

This report offers an opportunity that higher education institutions should seize in the coming months as state legislatures begin their new legislative sessions. There is growing momentum that changes must occur within higher education to improve quality and accessibility.

It is critical that institutions get in front of these changes and recommendation by offering their own plans for change. This will allow institutions to control the debate and making sure that the cure isn’t worse than the disease.

Privatizing Higher Education – More with less

March 28, 2006

Over the last few months there has been a lot of discussion about the privatization of higher education. This week, I am launching a series that will explore this issue over the coming months. Read a previous post here.

The first in this series will look at a study released last week by the State Higher Education Executives Office that demonstrates how more higher education institutions are relying on students to pay for a larger share of the cost of instruction.

The study found that there has been a significant decline in the amount of money spent by the state per student for the cost of instruction. Today the national average spent per student is $5,833, which is down from $7,121. This decline is a result of stagnant state support and increasing student enrollment.

“In 2005, however, the combined effects of enrollment, growth and inflation grew faster than state and local support. And published projections of state revenues and expenditures suggest that current tax structures are inadequate to sustain existing levels of support for public services. In effect, tax rate reductions enacted during good economic times are making it very difficult for states to finance growing demand for public services in the early years of the 21st century.”

This increased pressure for limited state resources will exacerbate the need for higher education institutions to expand the role of government affairs and alumni relations programs.

Caps - closing options

September 14, 2005

Over the past five years tuition increases have had dramatic affects on students and families. This has caught the eye of many elected officials at the state a federal level. For example, in South Carolina, the Governor is calling for tuition caps to prevent tuition increases:

Elected officials can position tuition caps as an answer to a problem that does not require them to allocate any money. This is becoming a popular solution that could have negative consequences for public institutions.

If costs continue to rise and budgets remain stagnant for higher education institutions, such proposals will negatively impact the quality of higher education. The silver lining in the budget cuts over the past few years has been that institutions could always increase tuition to minimize the impact of cuts. These proposals will effectively cut that option out and starve higher education institutions.

Institutions will need to build the support among students and parents to effectively handle this issue. Building those relationships will be key to not only address this issue but helpful in building support and reputation for institutions.


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