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  • Are results guaranteed by increase in funding?
  • Posted By:
  • Kathy H
  • Posted On:
  • 21-Feb-2013
  • One of the on-going debates in our country is whether progress is actually driven by access to increased funding or whether additional funds just help universities maintain their status quo? The question every single institution should ask is what should we do to make our universities stronger?

    After studying the financial status of our higher education institutions, we must ask some vital questions about future investments and about ways to restructure our colleges. Another important question to be asked is whether we are getting adequate return on investment.

    We must also work on the answers arrived at after careful analysis. For example, we must not hesitate to close down colleges that are stagnant without hope for reprieve and invest in institutions that show dynamism and promise.

    According to reports by Moody’s on the Wall Street Journal, a number of our universities and colleges are experiencing sapping of pricing power due to demographic and economic forces and this in turn is resulting in reduced demand for four-year college degrees.

    The report also points out that more numbers of students now are opting to study part time, attending affordable community colleges and even refraining from reaching out for college education and instead prefer working.

    Some of our universities such as those in Michigan including the Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University have strong endowments and leadership that will help them sail through the crisis. However, even these flagship universities may have to take steps to redirect savings towards functioning of core mission and to reduce administrative and overhead costs.

    How about our smaller universities and colleges? Will they be able to handle this pressure or will they simply buckle down? In his State of Union address, our President made it implicitly clear that soaring costs of higher education can no longer be subsidized with taxpayer money. He pointed out that it was their job to ensure that colleges do their part in cutting down costs.

    It is important to ensure that resources are provided to colleges only after determining whether they are being used effectively towards improvement and growth. It is also time to find out how strong and stable our universities are and what steps can we take to strengthen them.

    Doing this is the only way we can get our educational institutions to compete in the knowledge-based global field. We must determine if the way we invest in higher education needs to be changed and whether we can improve graduation rates and educational attainment by reducing costs.

    A major factor to be considered is whether funding colleges using the existing funding model will continue to offer results. If we wish to see our country regain its top position in the world, it is time to ensure that our universities are concentrating in the right areas academically.

    We must also make sure that they have the necessary skills to drive creativity, innovation, knowledge and wealth and job creation. It is time for our universities and colleges to embrace new realities and lead change.


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