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State Schools Get Back to Basics

Public universities are increasingly cash-strapped, but they’re also understandably reluctant to increase tuition, which has already risen by more than 70 percent over the past decade. So some schools are turning to other means to raise revenue, such as privatizing peripheral facilities like parking lots and dormitories, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ piece highlights Ohio State and the University of Kentucky as two early adopters of this model, but others are likely to follow suit. Not only do these moves bring in much needed funds; they also restore a school’s focus to its core teaching and research activities. As Ohio State CFO Geoffrey Chatas asks, “[D]o we really need to operate parking? Do we really need to own and operate an airport, or own and operate golf courses?”

The changes are starting to come faster now for higher ed. Via Meadia sees this great onrush of change as a sign of American strength. Flexibility, the willingness to try new things when the old ways aren’t working, has long been a hallmark of American culture. The capacity to experiment created an American higher education system that was the envy of the world in the century just past; it will keep American education vital in the current one.

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  • Walter Sobchak

    They are just money junkies. Every year they need a bigger fix to get high. Instead of selling the parking, they should spend some time in detox.

  • Peter Thomas

    Appreciate the sentiment, but not sure it is applicable in this sense in light of how expensive tuition here is compared to other countries. Moreover, the privatization of peripheral services has long been the case for cash-strapped universities in the UK. And you can argue whether it really raises revenue + services in the longer-term and whether it will open up another cleavage of inequality beyond the well-appointed private universities and shabby and decrepit public universities.

  • Arthur Melmed

    An alternate unbundled credentialing system could unburden students and State institutions of higher learning.

  • EvilBuzzard

    So, do they fire the yoga instructors and diversity coordinators before or after they sell off all their student parking. (You betcher schweet [behind] they won’t be selling any faculty lots).

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