The Corner

Education

Some Advice on the Necessary Belt-Tightening for Colleges

With revenues down for American colleges and universities — who knows how long it will be before things get back to normal — leaders are going to have to do a lot of belt-tightening. In today’s Martin Center article, Jenna Robinson and Sumantra Maitra summarize a new paper they’ve written on that subject.

At most schools, there is plenty of places to cut on spending that is not educationally essential. They focus on the UNC system, but what’s true there is true almost everywhere.

Athletics are at the top of the list. Robinson and Maitra write,

Without ticket sales to bolster budgets, every athletic department in the system will be operating deeply in the red this fall. Universities must consider eliminating some sports programs, dropping to a lower division, or switching to intramural sports. Many universities across the country have already started this process. Head coaches should take a pay cut of at least 10 percent.

Indeed. College leaders who have found it impossible to say “no” to their sports establishments in the past now have an overwhelming reason to do so.

The authors also argue that non-academic administration needs to be sliced away. They correctly observe that “many of the services and programs provided by nonacademic personnel are nonessential. They only tangentially relate to academics and do not contribute to student success.”

Colleges will be better off without all those diversity and student-life apparatchiks.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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