Phi Beta Cons

Education Will Suffer Unless Colleges Get More Funding

Well, that’s the party line we hear all the time from higher ed leaders and many politicians. Unless colleges are given more money, the country will suffer as education deteriorates.

Or perhaps the sky doesn’t fall when schools have to economize. That’s the message of an August 27 Wall Street Journal piece by University of Colorado president Bruce D. Benson,“Giving College Administrators a Business Education.” 

The state of Colorado has been cutting appropriations for the last eight years and Benson discusses some of the ways the university was able to lower expenditures without the slightest reduction in education. The school found that it didn’t really need 148 administrators, for example — painful for them but “a right-sizing for the school that helped preserve many other jobs.” Colorado also got out of the newspaper business, terminating the publication of a newspaper for faculty and staff.

Bravo to Benson for not (apparently at least) trying the good old Washington Monument ploy and axing, say, the biology department so he could say, “Look at the terrible thing you’ve made us do!”

Among college presidents, however, Benson will probably become the skunk at the picnic for admitting that his school had plenty of fat to cut.

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

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