Magazine article University Business

The New Reality

Magazine article University Business

The New Reality

Article excerpt

IT MAY BE PREMATURE TO SAY FOR SURE, but there have been encouraging signs lately from the economic world that the global economy is slowly being revived. We're far from out of danger, but various indicators suggest that a light is faintly visible at the end of the tunnel.

And if there's any doubt that education is a recession-proof industry, all one has to do is look at the numbers: The University of Tennessee at Martin has more than 8,000 students for the first time. Arkansas Tech University at Ozark is reporting a 60 percent increase in students from a year ago.

The Johns Hopkins University--certainly not cheap at $55,000 a year--had to reopen a defunct residence hall, lease a nearby inn, and add classes for popular math and science courses. The University of Central Florida may end up with about 52,000 students when a final head count is taken, making it one of the nation's largest universities.

Despite the recession and higher than ever prices at many institutions, students are determined to go to college. That's a good problem to have, say administrators, but even as that is happening, institutions still face the immediate effects of the recession, from reduced state funding to devalued endowments. Many institutions were forced into layoffs, furloughs, and salary cuts. Programs were dissolved, athletic teams disbanded, and building projects put on hold.

Many schools found increasing tuition and fees--sometimes twice in a year--unavoidable. At the 23 campuses of the California State University, tuition has increased by 30 percent, classes were eliminated, salaries cut, and positions eliminated and in some cases students were turned away from schools that just can't accommodate any more.

The University of California is considering a proposal to raise student fees 32 percent by next fall, boosting annual undergraduate tuition over the $10,000 level for the first time ever. …

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