Academic journal article College and University

The Budget Reductions of the Early 1990s: Did Doctoral and Non-Doctoral Campuses Respond Differently?

Academic journal article College and University

The Budget Reductions of the Early 1990s: Did Doctoral and Non-Doctoral Campuses Respond Differently?

Article excerpt

National recession and declining state revenues in the early 1990s brought tough times to public colleges and universities. Higher education, one of the few discretionary items in state budgets, became the big loser in budget battles with mandated programs in health care, corrections, welfare, and K-12 education (Gold 1995). Nationally, its share of state budgets declined drastically in the first half of 1990s (Callan and Finney 1997). Gold and Ritchie (1995) report that state funding in higher education fell from 14 percent in 1990 to 12.5 percent of the total in 1994. Hines (1994) notes that in 1993, for the first time in decades, states provided fewer resources for higher education than they did the previous year. Two studies have traced the effect of budget problems during the period on public university systems (Burke 1999) and on baccalaureate campuses (Burke 1998). This paper compares how doctoral and non-doctoral campuses reacted to reduced levels of state funding in the first half of the 1990s.

Study Framework

This study explores whether the doctoral and non-doctoral institutions differed on seven issues:

1. Planning for reduced levels of state support.

2. Using tuition and fee increases to fill budget shortfalls.

3. Reducing classes and sections as a response to budget problems.

4. Increasing part-time and decreasing full-time faculty to cut expenditures.

5. Retrenching non-tenured and tenured faculty to reduce spending.

6. Protecting quality and access in undergraduate education.

7. Safeguarding the quality of graduate education and research activities.

Given their different mission, size, and diversity, conventional wisdom suggests that doctoral and non-doctoral campuses might well differ in the following ways:

* Non-doctoral campuses would be more likely than doctoral universities to adopt long-term budget plans.

Non-doctoral campuses-which tend to be smaller, less diversified, and more administratively centralized-would seem more likely to adopt and accept long-term strategic plans for dealing with budget cuts than doctoral universities.

* Tuition and fees would fill more of the budget shortfall in doctoral than non-doctoral campuses.

Heavier student demand for admission would offer more opportunity for doctoral universities to raise tuition and fees. Increasing student charges at the less selective non-doctoral institutions would more likely result in enrollment losses and corresponding decreases in revenues from tuition and fees.

* Doctoral universities would reduce classes and sections more than non-doctoral institutions.

In general, the larger doctoral universities have many more classes and sections than non-doctoral campuses. Their greater number of offerings should allow the former to make bigger cuts in classes and sections than the latter.

* Both types of campuses would show a decrease in full-time faculty positions, but doctoral universities would experience a smaller decline than nondoctoral campuses.

The diminished state support would inevitably force a reduction in full-time faculty, which constitute one of the largest expenses in all colleges and universities. However, the size of budgets and diversity of activities at doctoral universities would permit larger cuts in non-instructional areas and lessen the need for reductions in full-time faculty.

* Doctoral universities would increase their parttime faculty more than non-doctoral institutions.

The availability of graduate students and, in many cases, the greater access to qualified part-time lecturers would give doctoral universities more ability to increase their part-time faculty than non-doctoral institutions.

Neither group of institutions would retrench many non-tenured faculty members and few tenured professors, but graduate universities would retrench fewer faculty members in either category than non-doctoral campuses. …

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