Monday, January 25, 2010

Tough Times for Higher Ed Spending

The Economist carries a report on the tough times for universities in the US, the UK and elsewhere:

In California the students are revolting—not against their teachers, but in sympathy with them. The state’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has cut $1 billion, some 20% of the University of California’s budget, as he tries to balance the state’s books. Fees may rise by a fifth, to over $10,000. Support staff are being fired; academics must take unpaid leave. [...]

Just before Christmas the British government said it planned to reduce spending on higher education, science and research by £600m ($980m) by 2012-13, just as a chilly job market is sending students scurrying to do more and longer courses. ... A House of Commons select committee is investigating the effects on British science.

Even where education spending has not been slashed, it may face a squeeze as short-term stimulus spending ends. America’s $787 billion Recovery Act passed by Congress nearly a year ago included $100 billion for education. More than half is to be spent this year, meaning that the budget will have to be cut in 2011. A study ... found that half of American states will have spent all of their stimulus money for education by the end of July. Cuts will follow. Privately funded schools and colleges have seen their endowments and donors’ enthusiasm wither.

Elsewhere, the cuts are less severe. Japan, for example, is reducing university spending by a flat 1% over each of the next five years. [...]