Tough times for higher education
In Oklahoma. The impact has a ripple effect on ACHE, since the home office is at OU. From NewsOK.
Ongoing higher education budget cuts called 'morally wrong,' 'not smart'
Continuing to cut funding for higher education is counterproductive to economic development in Oklahoma, the presidents of the state's two largest universities said Thursday.
They were among several college presidents who addressed the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education about the funding crisis facing their institutions.
Presidents said they are angry, frustrated and disheartened that higher education continues to fall short when it comes to state funding.
After listening to the presidents, the regents approved revised budgets for Oklahoma's 25 public colleges and universities to reflect the 9.5 percent cut in revenue from the original allocations approved in May.
“The cuts (systemwide) this year have been $112 million. The projections could be more than that for next year,” Chancellor Glen Johnson said.
Institutions have absorbed the funding reductions by cutting faculty and staff, courses, degree programs, students services and athletic programs.
“We're not doing that without a very negative impact on our colleges and universities, and quite frankly on our academic programs and our students," Johnson said.
President Burns Hargis said Oklahoma State University brings $340 million from outside Oklahoma into the state's economy each year, yet OSU's funding is cut while businesses that bring in fewer dollars are given tax credits and incentives.
"When you start these cuts, you're beginning to cut into the very kind of thing you're looking for in Oklahoma, which is more economic development," Hargis said.
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"Higher education is a critical part," he said. "When you cut courses, when you cut sections, when you cut faculty, you're cutting the revenue that those efforts are earning. It's just not smart."
University of Oklahoma President David Boren said the state "is last in the nation in what we're spending per student to educate the next generation."
“It's morally wrong. We can't afford to put up with it," Boren said.
Forty years ago, the state provided about half of the cost per student for college, but today it's about 12 percent, he said. Meanwhile, tuition and fees paid by students and their families has grown.
"We are harming the possibilities for the next generation in the state. We are harming economic development," Boren said.