Multifaceted fiscal challenges are being placed on public
universities, and some possible solutions for the future are
offered in this chapter.
Scrounging for Resources: Reflections
on the Whys and Wherefores of Higher
Nancy Cantor, Paul N. Courant
As traditional sources of financing become tighter, public institutions are facing mounting enrollment pressures in the context of state appropriations that are not keeping pace with growth in personal income, and private institutions are mounting generous financial aid packages while hitting some effective ceilings on tuition increases (Ehrenberg, 2000). Meanwhile, both types of institutions are looking to the same sources for new support: fundraising, for-profit educational ventures, internal cost savings and efficiencies, entrepreneurial activity involving intellectual property, and industry-university collaborations.
In addressing these important evolutionary issues, colleges and universities are forced to consider a broader question: “As we scrounge for the resources to support higher education in the twenty-first century, to what extent do we risk losing sight of essential elements of higher education?” Put another way, let us consider the question of just what we are trying to support and why.
We are called on by our many constituencies to act more businesslike and to pursue goals that are measurable, at least in many cases, in the language of profit and loss. Public bodies, including boards and legislatures, ask for
We would like to thank Shelly H. Martinez, assistant to the associate provost for academic and budgetary affairs at the University of Michigan, for her contributions.