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By Melissa Urban
UMass Amherst Student
Now that it’s the summertime I have a lot of time on my hands. I have enough time to cook up extravagant dishes, ample time to go to the gym, and have a summer-long Desperate Housewives marathon. Despite all the leisure time I now have, my mind keeps wandering back to business. How do we organize next year to be most effective in achieving our goals of affordable and accessible Public Higher Education? How do we expand our grassroots base so all students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, community members and parents are concerned with the health and well being of public higher ed?
In my spare time, I sit around thinking about how we can move forward as an organization. I get so excited and can’t wait to act! I start planning out details and get caught up in my head about creative and new organizing tactics to try on my campus. Despite this, I must deal with the reality that during the summer, things quiet down a bit and everyone becomes busy with work and vacations. But today I’ve realized how we can use this to better organize ourselves in the fall and next year.
A highly condensed set of thoughts to spark conversation and perhaps a PHENOM paper.
By Ferd Wulkan
Corporate leaders are worried about shrinking profits caused by global competition, the environmental crisis, gains made by social movements and other factors. They are eagerly looking for new sources of profit and are busily scouring the public sector. In the guise of pension reform, education reform, deregulation, shared sacrifice, etc… the goal is to lower labor costs and privatize wherever profits can be made. By attacking budget deficits, unions and taxes, their goal is to starve the public sector and force it to shrink – so they can profit. They have made major inroads in prisons, military contracting, public welfare… all areas that not so long ago most people thought were the exclusive domain of government. Now, it’s on to education.
It’s the recession. It’s the trend. It’s the times. We hear all sorts of reasons why we can’t expect increased investment in public higher education these days. But wait….look what’s happening in Maryland and in Ohio! These excellent articles paint a detailed picture of how higher ed communities can come together, make some compromises, and generate tremendous public and political support that translate into increased funding and frozen costs for students.
- Ferd Wulkan
From 2008 to 2010, the cut in state tax support for higher education in Massachusetts was -37.0%, compared to the national average cut of -6.9%. This is especially dramatic in light of the state’s budget shortfall of -8.5% — just half the national average of -16.9%.
This is a great article that talks about the threat to Public Higher Ed funding in 2011. It even has a great interactive map of which states are in most likely to have budget cuts to PHE based on budgetary and economic strength. Massachusetts rates “Very Likely”!
By Kim Clark
July 12, 2010
“As signs of a tentative economic rebound hearten students and parents in states such as North Dakota and Arkansas, continuing high unemployment and state budget crises could lead to funding cuts to public colleges and universities in Nevada, Louisiana, Illinois, and many other states. Unless officials in troubled states find new tax dollars to support their colleges, administrators will have little choice but to impose hefty tuition increases or reduce the number of classes and services offered on campus.