Education Cuts Are Everywhere

Aside from rare and wonderful exceptions (like the recent $225 million gift to the medical school at the University of Pennsylvania) it looks like practically all college budgets are hurting now.

According to a piece by Teresa Lostroh at ABC News:

Colleges and universities, which can levy revenue through tuition hikes, are a primary target for cuts when states are in a budget bind.

“This year is going to be the hardest year on record,” said Dan Hurley, director of state relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, which has 420 member institutions. “Any new revenue at the state level is being gobbled up by Medicaid and K-12 education,” he said, and much of the federal stimulus money expires this year, setting up the perfect storm for higher education.

At least 28 states, including Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Nevada and Washington, are talking about reducing aid to higher education for next fiscal year.

The real trouble is that this reduction in aid to higher education isn’t a one-time painful cut. Even when times were good states kept cutting higher education budgets. Now there’s not much left to cut.

And so colleges will both make even more drastic cuts (bigger classes, less generous financial aid) and increase tuition. Penn State may close some campuses and lay off faculty.

When’s this going to stop? Well no one knows. According to the article, “I think many people want to fund higher education, [said Penn State’s Lisa Powers] but where that money will come from, we just don’t know.”

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer