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Challenges Public Colleges And Universities Face In The 21st Century

818 words - 4 pages

Public colleges and universities are facing many compelling challenges in the 21st century, among them, a greater demand for institutional accountability and affordability, as well as declining financial resources. Although tuition rates and fees are increasing, institutions are still experiencing financial difficulties and the public’s opinion of higher education is disparaging. Leaders within the institutions are charged with developing new and creative strategies to improve the management of both institutional expenditures and financial resources. This paper will explore some of the financial challenges facing institutions of higher education, with particular focus on cost containment ...view middle of the document...

9% to 12.3%, and state contributions to higher education had dropped from 30.7% to 23.4% (Toutkoushian, 1999).
Contributing factors to the decline of state funding during the late 1980s and early 1990s was the result of “efforts to contain the growing federal deficit, and change resulting from the end of the Cold War, growing international competition, and sluggish national and state economies” (Schmidtlein & Taylor, 1996, p.406). Some universities were losing great sums of state funding. From 1990 to 1994, the University of Maryland saw a cutback of nearly $24 million dollars from their state appropriations (Schmidtlein & Taylor, 1996). That is nearly an average loss of $5 million per year in state support within that span.
The most recent economic crisis in America has continued to create compelling financial challenges for colleges and universities over the past six to eight years. Nationwide, the economic recession of the mid 2000s has disrupted many state budgets, reducing the pool of state and local appropriations used for institutions of higher education across the United States. In November of 2008, 41 states reported they faced or were soon facing shortfalls in their budgets for the current and following fiscal years (AEI North American, 2009). The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) reports that, the number 1 higher education state policy issue for 2012 was state operating support for public higher education (AASCU Top 10, 2012). During the fiscal year of 2011-12, 36 states saw reductions in funding – 15 which saw double-digit decreases (AASCU Top 10, 2012).
In fact, it appears that any hope of...

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