US: Budget-cutting strategies reviewed

Scrambling to address revenue shortfalls, the hardest hit public universities in the US most often chose to delay deferred maintenance projects, cut staff and reduce contingent faculty positions, according to a survey released last week by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. But those institutions still have plenty of "strategic" thinking to do about long term solutions, the survey found, writes Jack Stripling for Inside Higher Ed.

Of the responding universities where budgets have been cut by at least 10%, more than 90% have reduced permanent and part-time staff positions. In that same sample, about 88% are putting off maintenance projects and reducing adjunct faculty slots.

Raising tuition hasn't proven the panacea for public universities, the survey notes. While more than 90% of all responding institutions raised tuition and fees, half of those surveyed said education revenues - the sum of net tuition dollars and state appropriations - still declined. Consequently, universities have reduced services that benefit students even as they've required them to pay more. Indeed, 55% said student support services were "harmed" by state cuts, and 54% said their ability to maintain academic programmes and course offerings had been hampered by the reductions.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site