mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Winter for Higher-Ed
More Colleges Are Feeling the Pinch

Even with tuition rates soaring, many colleges are still searching under the proverbial sofa cushions to paper over gaps in their operating budgets. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, some are downsizing staff, while others are slashing athletic programs and even selling off buildings. Over the past six months alone, ten schools have cut hundreds of positions, and it appears likely that more schools will follow their footsteps as the year progresses.

Budget woes are particularly acute at small, mid-tier private schools, which lack the massive endowments and guaranteed stream of top students of their more prestigious counterparts. In an effort to compete with higher-profile competitors, many of these schools borrowed heavily to fund expensive construction projects during the early 2000s, only to see their endowments shrink when the financial crisis hit. Making matters worse, tuition revenue has dwindled with declining enrollment.

College presidents may be losing sleep over this, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing from a student’s perspective, especially if it convinces colleges to trim the fat from their budgets. Over the past few decades, when the higher-ed industry was booming, colleges overspent on unnecessary luxuries like state-of-the-art athletic facilities and large administrative bureaucracies. Today’s price-conscious students are more likely to balk at such the waste of their tuition dollars, and it’s not enough to do a bit of belt-tightening while idly waiting out the recession. The colleges that survive these lean years will be those willing to make bold, even risky changes.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Andrew Allison

    As The Feed has frequently inveighed, cut administration to the bone!!

  • Jane the Actuary

    Guess they missed the memo that the way forward is in recruiting sticker-price-paying foreign students to replace cost-conscious American students.

    • Andrew Allison

      Blog link well worth reading. It does, I suppose, represent the ultimate sell-out of the Academy to sordid commercial enterprise. Perhaps we need to rethink State and Federal support of institutions who are selling themselves to the highest bidder.

  • Jerry Shaw

    Gosh, so they might be affected by market forces? After decades of price increases higher than the rate of inflation. Cry me a river.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service