Higher Education Challenges: A Collection of Observations

Interesting information on economic issues facing institutions of higher education can be found in the series of “National Crosstalk” newsletters from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

James Duderstadt, “Aligning American Higher Education with a 21st Century Agenda

Michael Crow, “Enterprise: The Path to Transformation for Emerging Public Universities

Michael Crow, “Building an Entrepreneurial University

Luis M. Proenza, “Beyond Research Rankings,” Inside Higher Education, May 17, 2007

Mortgaging Our Future: How Financial Barriers to College Undercut America’s Global Competitiveness, ” 2006

Transition Matters-Community College to Bachelor’s Degree,” 2008


Overview of Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act

The passage of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will have an impact on Ohio University in a variety of ways including our academic programs in health and wellness, the costs and types of benefits we offer our employees, the availability of research funding, and the delivery of clinical services (just to name a few issues).  The following report provides some analysis of what to expect from the PPACA.  Thanks to Jennifer Horner for passing it along.

C. Stephen Redhead and Erin D. Williams, “Public Health, Workforce, Quality, and Related Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), March 24, 2010, Congressional Research Service.

From the Introduction:  “Among its many provisions, PPACA creates a mandate for most U.S. residents to obtain health insurance and provides for the establishment of insurance exchanges through which certain individuals and families will be able to receive federal subsidies to reduce the cost of purchasing that coverage. In addition, PPACA significantly expands eligibility for Medicaid; substantially reduces the growth in Medicare spending that had been projected under preexisting law; imposes an excise tax on insurance plans with relatively high premiums; and makes other changes to the federal tax code, Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other programs. This report, one of a series of CRS products on PPACA, summarizes the new law’s workforce, prevention, quality, and related provisions. It begins with some background on health care delivery reform, followed by an overview of the report’s content and organization.”

Role of Politics in State Higher Ed. Funding, OU Campus Master Plan, and State of Ohio Job Outlook

Michael K. McLendon, James C. Hearn, and Christine G. Mokher “Partisans, Professionals, and Power: The Role of Political Factors in State Higher Education Funding,” The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 80, No. 6 (November/December 2009).

“In this paper, we report the results of a longitudinal analysis of factors associated with state funding effort for higher education. We begin by developing a conceptual framework that more closely integrates key state political indicators that have received insufficient attention in the past. The focus then turns to describing the construction of a panel data set and a fixed-effects analysis that we conducted on the drivers of state appropriations to higher education, measured as appropriations per $1,000 personal income, over a period of nearly two decades, from 1984 to 2004. The concluding section identifies several findings providing distinctively new perspectives on patterns of state support for higher education over this period.”

Ohio University Campus Master Plan (Facilities Planning and Space Management)

State of Ohio Job Outlook, Employment Projections to 2016, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

White Paper on Resolving the State of Ohio’s Budget Dilemma

Thinking the Unthinkable: Finding Common Ground for Resolving Ohio’s Fiscal Crisis,”June 2010, The Center for Community Solutions.
“This white paper aims to give definition to the complexities and scale of the budget problems confronting the Buckeye State.  While striving for accuracy, it acknowledges approximation at many points.  In seeking an analytical tone, it unapologetically strays into a call to action.  In setting forth a ‘balanced approach’ to the structural deficit in state finances, it implicitly acknowledges that ‘balance’ is very much in the eye of the beholder.  And in suggesting options policy makers might pursue, it refrains from suggesting a specific set of preferences, recognizing that other ideas–promising and deserving ideas–will be offered between now and June 30, 2011, by which time the next biennial budget must be adopted.”

Cost Trends in Higher Education & Workforce Planning

Trends in College Spending, 1998-2008,” July 8, 2010

“A national trends report and cost-comparison tool released . . . by the Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity, and Accountability provide significant insight into how thousands of the nation’s colleges and universities are spending their resources, with implications for what that means for ―the new normal in college spending.  The report – Trends in College Spending 1998-2008: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go? What Does It Buy? – examines national college spending and resource trends in the years leading up to the current recession. Focusing on the period from 1998 to 2008 (the most recent year for which data is available), the report highlights several ongoing patterns in how institutions get and spend their money. TCS Online (www.tcs-online.org), a new web-based application of the Delta project database, complements the national trends report with easy access to institution and state-level details.”

Academic Support Unit Workforce Planning Initiative Example (Cornell University)

“Driven by fiscal pressures and a responsibility to ensure the most cost effective use of limited resources, President Rawlings initiated the Workforce Planning initiative in November 2001 as a comprehensive review of non-academic staffing requirements across the Ithaca campus.”

State Budget Info and Open Source Info

“State Budget Overview” –a presentation made to the Budget Planning and Management Commission, 6-29-10

The Budget Planning and Management Commission is a six member, bi-partisan group created by the Ohio General Assembly, which is charged with making “recommendations for the 2012-13 budget ‘designed to provide relief to the state during the current difficult fiscal and economic period’ by Nov. 30 of this year.”

“State Funding for Higher Education in FY 2009 and FY 2010”, National Conference of State Legislatures

“In late 2009, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) surveyed legislative fiscal offices about the status of higher education funding.  Specifically, it was an attempt to see how higher education funding was faring as a result of the economic downturn and to determine how ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] funds were affecting funding levels.”

Brad Wheeler, “Open Source 2010: Reflections on 2007”, January/February 2007, EDUCAUSE Review

An accessible article, that while dated, provides a good introduction  to some of the possibilities and the challenges of open source software for institutions of higher education.