May 31, 2013
Budget & Finance
IL: House-approved plan would shift pension costs to college campuses
The Illinois House of Representatives approved a measure Thursday that will slowly shift the responsibility for paying college and university employee pensions costs from the state to college campuses. If approved, the cost shift would be phased in over 18 years starting in 2014. Under current law, the state pays for all college and university employee pension costs. The pension shift is part of a deal with the state higher education community that will allow campuses greater freedom from state oversight on purchasing and inventory matters.
The Southern (Date posted: May 31, 2013)
WI: Budget committee votes to cut higher education funding, freeze tuition
Last week the Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted to slightly reduce appropriations levels for the University of Wisconsin (UW) System and the state financial aid board for the next two years. The panel also voted to freeze tuition for two years, the first two-year freeze in the 42-year history of the UW System. The JFC also delayed new flexibilities for UW campuses promised in the previous state budget. Budget increases and a small tuition increase had been slated for the UW System earlier this year, but were removed after a controversy related to the size of the UW System reserve fund.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Date posted: May 24, 2013)
TX: Legislature approves bill allowing guns in cars on campus
The Texas Legislature approved a measure Sunday that will allow students to store guns in their cars while on campus. The measure, which will apply to private and public colleges, will now be forwarded to Gov. Rick Perry (R).
The Dallas Morning News (Date posted: May 26, 2013)
OR: Governor expected to sign bill allowing competition between community colleges, for-profit career colleges
The Oregon Legislature passed a bill last week that would end a prohibition on public community colleges creating the same programs as for-profit career colleges. Under current law, community colleges must notify career colleges if they intend to offer a new program. If the career college finds the program will have an "adverse impact" on a program they offer or plan to offer, the community college cannot offer the program. Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) is expected to sign the bill.
Associated Press (Date posted: May 23, 2013)
WI: Legislature weighs plan to allow some university assets to be sold to private investors
A plan supported by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and recently advanced by a state legislative panel would give the governor power to sell state-owned properties to private investors, including assets of the University of Wisconsin (UW) System. Sales would require a cost-benefit analysis and legislative approval, but are not subject to approval from the UW System Board of Regents. Assets that were paid for with 50 percent or more private or federal funds are not eligible for private ownership. The universities would gain one-time revenue from the sale but lose millions in annual revenue. Proceeds would be used to pay off debts on the property sold as well as debts of the state agency. UW officials are currently evaluating the proposal's ramifications, but argue that it could impede fund-raising efforts for new university buildings.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Date posted: May 27, 2013)
FL: Governor urges university leaders not to raise tuition
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) sent a letter to state college and university officials this week imploring them not to raise tuition. Scott recently vetoed a 3 percent tuition increase in the state budget. However, some argue that universities have authority to raise tuition 1.7 percent to keep pace with inflation. The governor also penned an op-ed this week stating his opposition to tuition increases.
The Miami Herald (Date posted: May 24, 2013)
IA: Board of Regents approves tuition freeze
The Iowa Board of Regents stated this week that it will freeze tuition for the 2013-14 school year, the first tuition freeze in 30 years. The state legislature increased funding for the state’s public universities by 2.6 percent, the same amount requested by higher education officials to allow for a tuition freeze.
Associated Press (Date posted: May 23, 2013)
MT: Board freezes tuition, implements performance-based funding
Last week Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) praised the Montana Board of Regents for passing a two-year tuition freeze at the state’s public colleges and universities. State lawmakers boosted public higher education funding by $30 million in the state budget, along with new funding for job training and a pay increase for campus employees. The board also approved a measure that will tie 3 percent of university and 9 percent of community college funding to performance.
Billings Gazette (Date posted: May 24, 2013)
Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings (Website) (Related story)
Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce
This report outlines the relationship between college majors, earnings and unemployment. The report confirms that a college degree has a strong payoff, but the return on investment depends on the student's field of study. The economic value of graduate degrees is also explored.
New Jersey: Invest in New Jersey: Make Higher Education Affordable Again (Report)
New Jersey Policy Perspective
This report calls on New Jersey lawmakers to reinvest in public higher education as an alternative to cutting taxes. The report recommends using some of the $1.6 billion that would be used to cut taxes to double the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) for students from low- and middle-income backgrounds ($325 million), stabilize operating budgets ($400 million) and invest in innovation ($180 million).
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