Did You Know? Where UNC System’s $10 Billion in Revenue Comes From

Everything that the UNC system and its constituent institutions do is dependent on a generous inflow of money. In fiscal year 2020, the UNC system received $10.2 billion in revenues, excluding revenues for UNC hospitals. Where does all that money come from? By far, the state of North Carolina is the system’s largest source of … Continue reading “Did You Know? Where UNC System’s $10 Billion in Revenue Comes From”


The Edifice Complex Is a Threat to University Budgets

According to one recent estimate, American colleges in the last few years, in a period of extraordinary enrollment decline, have added 70 million square feet of new instruction and research facilities on their campuses. That is more space than in 10 Pentagons, the largest office facility in the U.S. Yet enrollments for fall 2020 had … Continue reading “The Edifice Complex Is a Threat to University Budgets”


Did You Know? COVID-19 Budget Cuts Hit Students and Profs, Not Admins

It only took a global pandemic to force public and private universities to cut their spending. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that about 650,000 jobs were cut in the higher ed sector—a 14 percent decline. An analysis from The Chronicle of Higher Education on the budgets of about 100 top colleges pegged their losses … Continue reading “Did You Know? COVID-19 Budget Cuts Hit Students and Profs, Not Admins”


Without Financial Transparency, Colleges Mislabel Research Spending as Instructional

Public colleges spend public money, but college officials are reluctant to make information about their budgets easy to understand. That aversion to transparency makes it easier to pass non-instructional expenses along to students. Many experts have discussed the problem. But without transparency, it can be hard to show just how much so-called instruction is actually … Continue reading “Without Financial Transparency, Colleges Mislabel Research Spending as Instructional”


The Four Perspectives of Higher Education Policy Explained

Explaining higher education policy is never easy (even to people who are involved in it). Over the years, while training young writers for the Martin Center, I have come up with a model that has proven useful. One way to produce clarity among the confusion is to apply a model having four basic perspectives rather … Continue reading “The Four Perspectives of Higher Education Policy Explained”


UNC Faculty Teaching Loads Report Is Insufficient for Making Policy

Reliable information is a prerequisite for good management. How can you make intelligent decisions if you are basing them on shaky information? This has been an ongoing problem for the University of North Carolina system, in which many high-level decisions are made by a governing board composed of part-time members. The main problem is that … Continue reading “UNC Faculty Teaching Loads Report Is Insufficient for Making Policy”


How Not to Recover from a Crisis, Mizzou Edition

The University of Missouri, where I teach and which I dearly love, is in crisis. Freshman enrollment at the university’s Columbia campus (Mizzou) is down by a whopping 35% from two years ago. Missouri’s governor and legislature slashed Mizzou’s state appropriation by $22 million this year. Administrators have responded by cutting Mizzou’s operating budget by … Continue reading “How Not to Recover from a Crisis, Mizzou Edition”