Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Higher Ed is being starved

Most people don't get it. The land grant universities and regional universities and colleges tied to these institutions are continuing to hemorrhage state funding. The public may not be aware, but those of us working on the front lines definitely notice. My former Chancellor made it clear nearly a couple years ago that the public universities in my state were public in name only. We receive maybe a little under 30 percent of our funding from state or federal resources. The rest comes off the backs of people who often are income and food insecure themselves. Professional development requirements for faculty - and believe me, they are requirements in order to stay employed - are increasingly paid for by the faculty themselves. We expect students to be able to work full time and take a full load of classes, and somehow graduate within a four year time frame. This is not a sustainable set of circumstances. Higher education is a public good, and needs to be treated as such. I am related to people who were first generation university students. I hear their stories, and how difficult surviving through those college years could get, and yet their stories pale in comparison to some of the stories my own students could tell. I wish more folks would get it, and would wake up legislators. In the meantime, we continue to starve, and so too do our communities.

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