Budget cuts have been the talk at Florida universities since Gov. Charlie Crist took office in 2007.
USF, like all State University System members, found itself in a bind when budgets were slashed because of tax cuts under Crist’s legislation. Crist promised lower taxes — and he kept that promise, arguably to the detriment of Florida’s educational and social programs.
And then came a slumping real estate market, which spurred a drop in property values and property taxes, crippling the state’s coffers even more.
To make matters worse, this country’s economy is in peril, furthering the extent of the financial troubles at universities.
Given these factors, the way universities like USF are funded needs to be changed in order to preserve the quality of education.
Consider that, at USF, positions continue to be slashed and many of those seats aren’t being filled with new adjuncts, which hurts students.
Hiring freezes and staff layoffs have done nothing more than negatively affect the quality of education at this University and others, and the future looks bleak as more threats of cuts and layoffs emerge.
Universities fear for their institutions because, if banks aren’t loaning money for tuition, many students simply cannot attend. This loss of revenue equals less money for staff.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that private universities like Harvard and Rollins College have a projected 30 percent decrease in university endowments.
Last week, The Chronicle for Higher Education reported on a struggle over state funds between private and public universities, but it seems that no one with authority is coming up with solutions.
Ironically enough, more non-traditional students want to go back to school to get an education or brush up on new technology. But the education that they seek might not be as strong as they expect.
It’s time university administrators and politicians come up with better solutions than hiring freezes and slashing positions — solutions that will weather an economic storm. It is simply not enough to lay off a few people here and there. It’s not working, and the quality of education is plummeting — be it in the form of larger class sizes or a thinning course selection.
Relying on the federal government to bail everyone out of problems isn’t enough, either — a multi-billion dollar bank fix is not going to stave off a nationwide university fiscal crisis.
Politicians and university administrators must look at ways to fix this situation that do not involve leaving more people jobless.
Let’s use fresh, out-of-the-box thinking to solve the issue instead of trying to save a system that is arguably broken beyond repair.