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April 10, 2013, 3:54 pm
In releasing his administration’s budget for the 2014 fiscal year on Wednesday, President Obama said the proposal would replace “the foolish across-the-board spending cuts that are already hurting our economy,” a reference to the effects of the federal sequester that began last month.
John Nelson, managing director of the health-care and higher-education rating teams at Moody’s Investors Service, the credit-rating agency, observed in a recent interview that few politicians at any level of government favor the way the sequester’s $85-billion in automatic cuts will affect research universities. “I think most elected officials recognize the importance and growing value of research universities to economic development,” he said. “They don’t want to hurt research universities.”
Most of damage, at least in the short term, The Chronicle learned in conversations with deans and vice…
March 29, 2013, 4:55 am
As universities raise alarms about the potentially devastating effects of more than $1-billion in looming cuts in federal research spending, a leading credit-rating agency issued a report on Thursday that seemed to say: “Calm down. This will sting for just a moment.”
The vast majority of American universities and nonprofit organizations will “face only minimal effects” from the budget cuts in the 2013 fiscal year, according to the report by Moody’s Investors Service. Just 1 percent of institutions—”primarily stand-alone research institutes”—are at risk of losing more than 3 percent of revenue during the first year of the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.
Moody’s issued a grim report in January on the general outlook for higher education, but Thursday’s report—part of a series about the effect of sequestration—was optimistic, if measured.
March 21, 2013, 6:03 pm
A school district in the Chicago suburbs is eyeing a 15-acre parcel that belongs to Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Ill., for a new junior high school and has suggested that if the college won’t agree to sell, the district’s Board of Education might try to seize the property.
The Glen Ellyn District 41 newsletter, dated March 13, said that the board would decide at its April 8 meeting whether to make a formal offer on the parcel. “If unable to reach an agreement with the property owner, Wheaton College, the Board of Education may decide to pursue its legal right as a governmental body to purchase the property without the owner’s consent through eminent domain,” the article states.
Wheaton, an evangelical Christian liberal-arts college, said in a news release that it “strongly opposes” the district’s course of action.
“As a private institution, Wheaton College does not have the…
February 14, 2013, 12:02 am
On the same day that President Obama released his College Scorecard to help students and their families compare institutions, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities unveiled a data-packed scorecard of its own to show how favorably public higher education stacks up against its private nonprofit and for-profit counterparts.
The 12-page report compares the average list prices of public universities ($8,655), for-profit institutions ($15,172), and private universities ($29,056), and describes what public-university leaders are doing to control costs at a time of declining government support and rising tuition.
The report also compares the average debt of students who borrowed money to attend public universities ($22,000) and private, four-year institutions ($28,100), and touts the economic advantages of a college diploma.
The most startling assertion of the chart- and…
February 13, 2013, 5:20 pm
For all of the organizations and associations in higher education, none is for chief academic officers. Until now.
Next month at the American Council on Education’s annual meeting, some 100 provosts and CAOs from all sectors will convene for the first time to hear about the new Association of Chief Academic Officers.
Wendy Wilkins, a former provost at New Mexico State University, says the group will be a forum for chief academic leaders—many of whom oversee faculty, student-affairs, research, internationalization, and in some cases even finance offices—to share experiences and lessons.
Some organizations, including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, already have subgroups for chief academic officers, but Ms. Wilkins says the participants “are not getting that broader view.” Some private consulting firms have also sought to build practices around groups…
December 7, 2012, 5:27 pm
If negotiations in Washington to avoid a “fiscal cliff” come down to a choice between cutting spending on defense or education, a majority of Americans would spare the education programs, according to the results of a poll released on Friday.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents to the poll said cuts should come from defense spending, compared with 43 percent who supported cutting education programs.
Among federal education programs, a majority of respondents said it was “very important” for Congress to protect from automatic cuts special-education programs for children with disabilities (57 percent) and grants to attend college (53 percent). Funds for universities to conduct scientific research, which higher-education advocates have said would be devastated by the automatic cuts, ranked much lower, at 30 percent.
The poll also found that respondents significantly…
December 5, 2012, 1:34 pm
After years of political wrangling, Florida’s 11 public universities got the authority in 2009 to raise tuition up to 15 percent annually without the State Legislature’s approval.
But now they’re telling lawmakers they would be glad to freeze tuition next year if they got a $118-million increase in state appropriations. At a news briefing on Tuesday, the universities’ presidents joined student-government leaders to highlight higher education’s estimated economic impact on Florida and the nearly 40-percent cut in state funds the universities have absorbed in the past five years.
The requested increase in state money is equal to a 15-percent tuition increase, but it would not burden families with higher college costs, Cortez Whatley, president of the Florida Student Association and student-body president at the University of Central Florida, said in a written statement.
December 4, 2012, 5:50 pm
Higher-education advocates are closely watching how the current fiscal negotiations in Washington will affect federal support of colleges and universities.
But many are also concerned that a change in tax policy would affect an important private source of revenue to the industry: philanthropic giving, which topped $30-billion at American colleges and universities in 2011, according to the Council for Aid to Education.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have said that limiting tax deductions, including the one for charitable giving, should be part of a compromise deficit-reduction deal to avoid sending the federal budget over a “fiscal cliff.”
Changes in the charitable-giving deduction, which allows tax filers who itemize their deductions to receive a tax break for donating to qualified nonprofit organizations, have previously been proposed as a way to increase …
November 30, 2012, 4:58 am
A nonprofit foundation has established a scholarship program with an unusually narrow purpose: helping student-veterans who say they were defrauded or misled by for-profit colleges.
The Veterans’ Student Loan Relief Fund, a project of the Kisco Foundation, is currently accepting applications for its second round of awards. The fund provides grants of up to $5,000 to student-veterans who used their military educational benefits to attend a for-profit college and are now experiencing financial hardship as a result.
The Kisco Foundation is a philanthropic endeavor of Jerome Kohlberg Jr., a retired Wall Street businessman and billionaire who attended college on the original GI Bill after returning from military service in World War II.
In order to qualify for the scholarship, a student-veteran must owe student-loan debt, have exhausted all of his or her military educational…