Winter 2009 Journal: Financial Challenges

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BOSTON—New England colleges and universities are wrestling with financial challenges, old and new, against the backdrop of a deep recession, according to a Forum in the new Winter 2009 edition of The New England Journal of Higher Education.

The Winter 2009 issue’s Forum on higher education finance includes the following articles:

Current Funds • State Higher Education Executive Officers President Paul E. Lingenfelter warns that recession on top of demand for greater educational attainment forces a re-examination of college financing, tuition and student aid policies.

Pumping the Money Lever • When states want to prod higher education institutions to solve problems or just increase productivity, the big lever is money … not the final amount, but the rules by which it is meted out. National Center for Higher Education Management Systems President Dennis Jones explains.

A Work of Art • Massachusetts College of Art and Design President Katherine Sloan reports on five years as a hybrid public college living with reduced state appropriations but increased autonomy.

Debt-for-Diploma SystemTamara Draut, vice president of the New York City think tank Demos and author of Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-Somethings Can’t Get Ahead, explains how student-loan debt saddles college grads long after they earn degrees.

Among other articles in the Winter 2009 issue of NEJHE:

Educating All Learners for the New Economy • Cecilia Le and Richard Kazis of Boston-based Jobs for the Future outline the recent report they co-authored for the Nellie Mae Education Foundation on What It Takes to Succeed in the 21st Century – and How New Englanders Are Faring. With so many young people leaving school underprepared for the knowledge economy, Le and Kazis note, New England needs a more varied range of opportunities for learning, inside and outside traditional school buildings and time constraints.

The Future of the Skilled Labor Force • New England continues to attract college students from afar. But upon graduation, many leave to find jobs and start families, according to research by Alicia C. Sasser, senior economist at the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Keeping those college grads in the region, Sasser writes, will hinge on internships, positive regional “branding” and, most of all, good jobs.

Why Our Graduates Are Settling In Other States • University of Maine economist Philip A. Trostel argues that a highly educated workforce attracts and creates good jobs and prosperity in a state. From the state’s economic perspective, he writes, it doesn’t matter if the jobs are filled by in-state or out-of-state graduates.

Insecure? • To prevent and respond to campus violence, New England colleges are overhauling their safety initiatives, beefing up communications systems, expanding counseling and helping faculty and staff detect warning signs in students. NEJHE editorial intern Alyssa Franzosa reports on the new state of readiness on college campuses.

Time for Higher Ed to Survive Crisis and Thrive • NEBHE President and CEO Michael K. Thomas explores how New England higher education can successfully weather the financial storm. He recommends that New England campuses work together to understand the impact of demographic change on student demand and hone competitive and collaborative responses. “We continue to sell eight-cylinder Cadillac Devilles,” writes Thomas, “when students want Smart Cars to zip quickly to their next career opportunity.”

Excellent New England • Each year, NEBHE recognizes higher education’s greatest champions with its annual New England Higher Education Excellence Awards. NEBHE Chair and Massachusetts State Sen. Joan Menard notes that with the economy in its worst shape since the Great Depression, the values exemplified by the 2009 award recipients are more important now than ever.

Back with a Crash • NEJHE executive editor John O. Harney discusses returning from a year of leave to a sense of déjà vu: a down economy licking at higher education.

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