Higher Ed Anathema

I’m sorry (dark times, and all), but I had to laugh. The student newspaper at URI, The Good 5¢ Cigar, has a story on decreasing state funding, and accompanying editorial contains this gem:

University President Robert L. Carothers said that the administration will have to do “some creative thinking.” Has it really come down to this?

Creative thinking at a university? It is the end of the world.
Incidentally, although I haven’t done the research, I suspect the claim that URI will be completely without state funds by 2024 is hyperbolic, related to this:

[Vice President for Administration Robert ]Weygand said state funding accounts for 26 percent of the university’s revenue in the fiscal year 2008, while student tuition fees account for 62 percent of the university’s revenue. The 2008 fiscal year began on July 1, 2007, and will end on June 30, 2008. …
In the late 1980s, Weygand said state funding was about even with revenue from tuition and fees. In 2008, however, he noted that tuition fees were about $100 million higher than state funding, which varied little since 1989 when compared with the tuition and fee spike.

I think what they’re doing is taking this ratio and continuing the line out until state funding accounts for 0%, which is hardly a likely trend line. I’d be surprised if actual-dollar state funding hasn’t increased in the last twenty years, just with spending, and therefore tuition and fees, increasing at a much greater rate.

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15 years ago

No matter what you say Justin, the fact is that RI spending on higher education ranks 45th in the Nation. Given the tenor of your comments I have to guess you’re pretty proud about that ranking. Pretty proud indeed!

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
15 years ago

It’s a matter of priorities. You know that importing welfare recipients – legal and illegal – and subsidizing their breeding once here, is far more important than supporting higher education.
After all, taking care of dependents who are that way through no fault of their own because they are victims of capitalism, is a higher moral calling than supporting the industrious and ambitious.
Teresa Paiva-Weed

Justin Katz
15 years ago

So is that how it works, Richard: point out hyperbole, and you’re proud of low investments?
As it happens, I think our higher education system is underutilized for productive purposes, and I was surprised (in a bad way) at our low ranking.
On the other hand, I think our higher education system is overutilized for political purposes (see: the Poverty Institute at RIC), and as an overt conservative, I can’t help but smirk at the comeuppance involved when the poorly reasoned policies of such liberals as populate the colleges strip the state of resources to invest in the liberals’ own institutions, even when those investments would be sound and advisable.
Take my tenor as you will. I’m mainly hoping that the pain to the academics’ source of income will inspire them to step off the plantation — that is, use their heads for once, when it comes to public policy.

15 years ago

We can’t afford to have an attractive state university. It might attract some of those (ahem) welfare recipients to Rhode Island. The sooner Carothers realizes that, the better.
You know the old joke about the college president – his job is to provide parking for the faculty, football for the alumni and sex for the students. Bob’s come up short on at least two of them.
While we’re at it, let’s tell Jim Baron he can’t recruit any more foreigners for the basketball team. Parfait Bitee is taking away a scholarship from an American kid, right? And we can’t afford anything that makes Rhode Islanders proud of our state school, right?

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