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Friday News Roundup: Week of December 3-7

Published:  December 7, 2012

Connecticut budget cuts stall plan to hire additional college faculty

Judge deals a setback to Louisiana’s voucher program

Wyoming governor's budget plan cuts $11.4M from UW

Iowa regents freeze tuition for in-state undergrads

Connecticut budget cuts stall plan to hire additional college faculty
Connecticut’s largest college system, the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, has suspended its plan to hire 47 new faculty members because its budget was cut last week when Governor Dan Malloy included $14.4 million in higher education cuts to the system as part of his attempt to close a state budget shortfall. The cuts come after a reorganization last year in which the colleges saved $5.5 million by merging administrative duties between the community college and state university networks, an initiative pitched by a Malloy as a way to pump new money into academic programs. However, due to the budget shortfall, the money can no longer go towards funding new faculty, but instead towards closing the budget shortfall. The University of Connecticut, which operates under a separate governing board, will also be cut by $10.3 million, but previously planned faculty hiring that was paid for by a tuition increase last year will not be affected by the emergency budget cuts. More here…

Judge deals a setback to Louisiana’s voucher program
A Louisiana judge has ruled that it is unconstitutional for Louisiana to appropriate state money to private schools through a voucher program from a fund that clearly is meant to provide funding for public schools. The ruling does not rule the voucher program unconstitutional, per se. However, should the State Supreme Court uphold the ruling, that would force the legislature to appropriate funding for the private school voucher program separately from the funding for public schools, which is a formula designed to calculate state and local funding for public school districts. Appropriations are far more politically fraught than formula funds, so such a decision would significantly complicate one of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s signature initiatives. More here…

Wyoming governor's budget plan cuts $11.4M from UW
State funding to the University of Wyoming would be cut by $11.4 million next year under Governor Matt Mead’s fiscal year 2014 budget recommendations. The 6 percent cut below fiscal year 2013 levels is less than the 8 percent cuts recommended for most other state agencies; university officials had been bracing for the larger, 8 percent cuts. The Governor also recommended introducing a recurring $2.4 million merit pay system for university employees, as well as $70 million for a new engineering building. The president of the University of Wyoming said he was grateful for the Governor’s recommendations. After being warned that large cuts may be forthcoming, the university had maintained empty faculty positions and worked to reduce other expenses, so the 6 percent cut was less than anticipated by administrative staff at the college. More here…

Iowa regents freeze tuition for in-state undergrads
The Iowa Board of Regents voted unanimously this week to freeze tuition for undergraduate resident students in the 2013-2014 school year for the first time in 30 years. The freeze is contingent on the state legislature awarding a 2.6 percent increase to the universities’ public funding over 2013 fiscal year levels. The tuition freeze is possible due to record enrollment rates at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, as well as low inflation rates, according to the Board of Regents. Seventy-two percent of Iowa students graduate with some debt, and the average amount of debt upon graduation is $28,753 – the sixth highest amount of debt per borrower in the country, according to the Project on Student Debt. If the tuition freeze is implemented next year, tuition would remain at $6,648 at ISU and $6,678 at the University of Iowa. Out-of-state students, who already pay more than twice what in-state students pay at the college, will see tuition increase by at least $400 and possibly more than $1,000. More here…

 

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