Economic setbacks from global economic trends and the recession job losses, along with partisan gridlock, have put many states’ budgets into crisis mode overall. It’s not just the states that are under the present control of “cut government costs as #1 priority” ideologues.
It also sometimes seems regardless of party, state politicians and legislatures tend to have a grudge against higher education, and long has it been so. Why? Perhaps politicians, on the whole, feel a natural enemy in the power centers not under their control…and education is often one of the biggest tickets in any state budget. “Those arrogant egg heads of academia are going to get taken down a peg, when we cut their funding” attitudes do exist. And there’s the battle of Teacher’s Unions vs opponents of Teacher’s Unions which certainly keeps things “on a boil”.
If not for athletic departments and football teams, would legislatures have dramatically reduced funding for higher ed long ago? Don’t know of course, but sometimes there’s the appearance that they would have. It’s also true that tuition costs going “crazy” is at least a tangential result of state spending on higher ed not keeping pace with costs. Or so higher ed institutions would have us believe. Has there ever been a rational accounting for why educational costs have gone up tens of times the rate of inflation?
In this article below, a local SNM Democrat and a high ranking Democrat in the state legislature committees…both argue that “something has to be done” to reorganize the NM Higher Education system. And NO ONE appears to be saying we need to increase Higher Ed budgets…but everyone agrees we need to see better results.
That’s two trains on a head-on collision course. How much higher can tuition be raised to cover the budget shortfalls at state higher ed institutions? Which has been, let’s face it, rising at insanely rapid rates and appears to be running up against a wall of “we’re not going to take it anymore” resistance…or at least, an increasing drop out of families that simply can’t afford to take on that level of expense. Present higher ed debt nationwide is at economically untenable levels as it is.
It seems, as PSA has been saying for as long as we’ve existed, that at some point pressures to reduce expenditures for education would drive adoption of cost efficient online learning. With much turmoil in state governments across the country, and with the particularly acute level of state receipts in NM, that time is rapidly approaching, FBOW.
Lifelong learning and workforce development and adult education will likely be advanced, but the state will also lose some higher ed, and lower ed teaching positions, which are high-quality jobs here. Las Cruces is particularly dependent on education jobs.