Keeping tuition affordable is important for every school. We just had a long meeting focusing mainly on student recruitment and retention, and the single most important variable is cost. Everyone wants to make their school as affordable as possible while remaining competitive. It's a hard equation to balance. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So the key question is, HOW do we propose to control the increase in tuition? The obvious answers are:
1: More revenue: are there ways PSU can bring in more money outside of tuition? This includes private fundraising, grants awarded to faculty and staff, new ventures and institutes that can bring in donations, etc.
2: Lower costs: The biggest cost at nearly every institution is personnel. Do you cut people? From faculty, administration or staff? Do you cut or limit pay increases? In other areas, how do you manage your facilities budgets? Academic budgets? Are there ways to make significant savings in areas outside of personnel?
Saying you want to cut tuition raises is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is very different. Hard decisions will have to be made.
I agree that hard decisions will have to be made. I just guess that ways to save are very numerous.
It’s about controlling the bottom line at the top level. If spend spend spend…raise tuition, raise tuition, raise tuition is the exceptable way of doing business (which sure seems to be the PSU way) THEN the school will suffer in the long run and costs will continue to rise.
BUT, IF raising tuition raising tuition raising tuition was NOT an option BUT I believe tons of saving practices will be found very easily!!
I just think spending was more prioritized than saving at the top level.
The problem is that there is massive competition. If you cut a program, then the students who want that program don’t come to PSU. Then you don’t get their tuition (even if it’s cheaper tuition). This leads to a downward spiral. The bottom line can’t be “cut tuition.” The bottom line has to be “serve the students.” Obviously, making the students pay an exorbitant amount for their education is not serving them.
I can tell you that there isn’t a whole lot of “fat” to be cut from my school. I can’t speak for PSU. Salaries at my school are lower than our peers. Academic budgets have been frozen for years with no increases. New hiring (outside of replacements) is basically frozen, and sometimes replacements aren’t hired. Facilities budgets are cut to the bone currently.
There is a real attitude in academia of “keeping up with the Joneses” that needs to be addressed. If you go into a dining hall at any college or university, the dining options are amazingly diverse compared to my day in school. This isn’t a bad thing, but it costs money. Schools are building rec centers with climbing walls and rafting rivers. More and more dorms are being built with single occupancy rooms. Schools are doing this because, if you don’t have these, then students don’t like your campus when they come to visit and they go elsewhere.
Students are demanding more and more interdisciplinary and special programs and majors. It’s not just English, math, art, biology and chemistry anymore. It’s nanotechnology, graphic design, physical therapy, and computer game theory. If you don’t offer these, but someone else does, then those students go elsewhere.
Right now, it’s still market driven. Students are still coming and paying the costs. Colleges and universities are still filling their dorms and classrooms. All those free market types and capitalists should love this and should be applauding the college and university system as an excellent example of the invisible hand at work (somehow, though, most of the criticism of the colleges and universities comes from the right). When students stop coming, costs will be cut. But I agree that the colleges and universities have to anticipate these changes and be prepared for them.