As the stock market gyrates and talk of a new recession begins, many universities have reason to worry. The cost of college education hasn’t stopped rising, students are fearful of being burdened by debt, and political pressure is beginning to weigh in. Congress is entertaining a bill that would require 25 percent of a school’s endowment spending to go toward student financial aid, and several presidential candidates have unveiled plans to solve the student debt crisis. At the state level, the return of state support to its pre-recession levels may be in jeopardy. But a few universities have chosen to take a different route. In addition to looking for more state revenues, they’ve found ways to reduce their expenditures and to ease the financial burden on students.
The multi-billion dollar college athletics industry is under attack. While there is no shortage of reports on academic and financial abuses, a new problem is emerging: evidence of long-term neurological effects caused by high-impact head trauma in football. This problem has gained notoriety from a new movie, Concussion, which tells the story of a doctor trying to link previous head trauma to uncommon deaths in professional football players.
The absence of a state-mandated across-the-board salary increase does not mean that UNC system faculty members are not receiving increases. There are quite a few programs and procedures for raising faculty wages. One thing that may be angering the more strident faculty voices is that many of the means for raising salaries are merit-based rather than automatic.