Monday, February 23, 2009

Links for 2-23-09

by Andrew Gillen

The Chronicle of Higher Education finds out who the highest paid higher educators are.
the highest-paid college employee in the country was Pete Carroll, head football coach at the University of Southern California, with $4.4-million in total compensation (pay plus benefits).
Glad to see we have our priorities straight.

Also be sure to check out this Chronicle of Higher Education story on executive pay. The scariest part is the number of senior executives/administrators. If my count is right, the Chronicle found 274 such positions. Of course, not all schools have all 274 positions, but this is exactly what we are talking about when we discuss bloated administrative staffing.

Greg Mankiw, commenting on why the satisfaction with economics majors at Harvard is low says
student satisfaction is low precisely because the student-faculty ratio is high.
He lists a number of ways to combat this, concluding with this one
Some angel with deep pockets could give the university a wad of cash
Perhaps it’s just me, but I find it hard to muster up any extra sympathy here, but I disagree with the commenters on Felix Salmon's article, who argued that making $200,000 a year doesn’t make you rich.

Finally, I’ll conclude with a series of quotes from EduBubble postings. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but they raise good points that can’t be ignored.

He says colleges raise tuition because they can:
Society already pumps a ton of money into the schools through hundreds of big and little programs. If these aren’t helping keep college affordable, do you think another will make a difference? Colleges spend every penny they can get and then they demand tuition from students because the students are happy to pay it. So why not charge what the market will bear?
He sees austerity coming for colleges:
The beautiful shining ideal of a college filled with Starbucks, Stairmasters, and huge unshared rooms was only possible when the schools schnookered you into mortgaging all of the future income.
He doesn’t like the FAFSA, or the NY Times take on it:
she doesn’t deal with the weird philosophical incentive to spend like crazy because the schools will take any dollar you actually save. She just talks about the complexity of the form and how some folks want to make it simpler, they really do, but there’s no easy way to squeeze all of the money out of the parents and the tax payer without requiring a ton of information.


maxheadroom said...

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 13, 2009

(Idiot) Colleges and Students Cheer Congress's Economic-Stimulus Deal - or "Don't touch my endowment"

The compromise, $789-billion economic-stimulus bill that Congress is planning to try to deliver to President Obama by Monday contains large sums of money for student aid and biomedical research, and would give states billions of dollars to ease budget cuts to colleges and schools.

College lobbyists didn't get everything they wanted in the plan, which the House and Senate are expected to approve and could take up as soon as today. The measure, for instance, doesn't include the separate pot of money for campus construction that the House had passed or money for the Perkins Loan program that the Senate had approved.

It also excludes a $2,000 increase in annual borrowing limits on unsubsidized Stafford Loans for undergraduates, a provision in the original House bill that student-aid administrators and other groups had pressed but that student groups had opposed. Student-loan companies, too, failed to win a change they sought to the way the government calculates subsidies it pays to lenders that participate in the federal student-loan program. The change, which the House had passed, would have temporarily increased their payment rate.

But, overall, advocates for colleges and students cheered the billions of dollars for education that is in the bill as details of the compromise began to be made public on Thursday. The deal worked out by House and Senate negotiators, which was first announced on Wednesday amid a flurry of intense and hurried last-minute negotiations, includes $95-billion for the Education Department to spend over two years. The plan would raise the maximum Pell Grant to $5,550 by 2010, an increase that legislators said would help seven million students. (The current maximum award is $4,731.) The aid program would receive $15.6-billion from the bill, an amount that would also erase a shortfall in the program's budget.

A tax credit for tuition would be increased to $2,500, from its current level of $1,800, for the next two years and would make textbook costs an education expense that could be counted toward the benefit. People who do not earn enough money to owe taxes also would be eligible to take $1,000 of the credit. The bill would also bolster the Federal Work-Study program, providing $200-million. And it would allow families to buy computers with money they have saved for college expenses in so-called 529 plans, whose earnings are exempt from taxes.

“Fundamentally this is a big win for our nation's students and for colleges and universities," said Larry Zaglaniczny, vice president for governmental relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Value to Economy Questioned
Some Republicans and other critics of the stimulus legislation had questioned whether pouring money into student aid would be an effective way of kick-starting the economy and argued it should be cut from the bill.

"The stimulus bill ought to be for programs that create new jobs now," Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, former education secretary, and former college president, said in a speech earlier this week at the annual meeting of the American Council on Education. He said that many of the funds for education included in the stimulus measure should be debated separately, as part of Congress's normal appropriations process.

Higher-education lobbyists and the new education secretary, Arne Duncan, fought to preserve the money, including funds for Pell Grants, as the stimulus package moved through Congress. They considered aid to
education to be vulnerable in negotiations, particularly those that occurred among moderate Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who were critical to the measure's fate.

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California and speaker of the House, provided a rationale for putting education spending in the stimulus measure in a summary of the compromise plan that she distributed. "Economists tell us that strategic investments in education are one of the best ways to help America become more productive and competitive," the document said.

Money for States and Facilities
The question of whether (and how much) money to include for construction at colleges and schools was one of the stickiest issues for House and Senate negotiators. The House bill had included $7-billion for higher-education facilities, but senators struck all money for college construction from their bill. The compromise does not include a separate pot of money for campus building projects. But colleges could use some of the money they receive under a "state fiscal-stabilization fund" to repair, modernize, or renovate their facilities. The nearly $54-billion fund includes money for states to limit budget cuts to colleges and schools and to spend on other priorities.

Of that total, close to $40-billion would be set aside for states to funnel to public colleges and school districts - which could use the money in various ways – including ways to restore budget cuts, prevent layoffs, or modernize facilities. Governors would be given $8.8-billion to allocate to high-priority needs, which could include money for public or private colleges. The rest of the state fund would be distributed by the education secretary to reward performance, based on measures that apply mainly to elementary and secondary schools.

To be eligible to receive money for colleges under the stabilization fund, states would have to meet a minimum bar for spending on higher education, giving their public colleges at least as much in the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years as they spent on them in the 2006 fiscal year. States facing serious financial difficulties could seek a waiver from the secretary of education.

Big Amounts for Biomedical Research
The legislation provides more than $15-billion for research in science and technology, with the majority going to the National Institutes of Health for biomedical studies, and it would allocate $7-billion to extend broadband services to communities that are underserved.

The bill contains $8.5-billion for biomedical research at NIH and $1.5-billion for the agency to spend on renovating university facilities to help them compete for biomedical research grants. The National Science Foundation would receive $3-billion for basic research in science and engineering under the compromise. And other portions of the bill would give money to research on energy efficiency, climate change, and innovative technologies, among others.

maxheadroom said...

Better Bubba than Barry

You might have caught Glen Beck on Friday “war-gaming” the potential threats to the United States. One of his scenarios involved the “Bubba Factor”, the inherent rise in militias as confidence in the federal government decreases. I will be the first one to admit that I do not place much stock in so-called militias – private communes of citizens arming themselves against Legislative aggression – but this does not mean that I abandon the concept itself. Merely that I trust very few individuals without careful scrutiny on my part. That makes me human. That I believe that all men were created equal and that our founding fathers placed the government into our care makes me American.

While I am not one of those barricading myself in my home for fear that Big Brother will come crashing through the walls in armored vehicles, I am quite prepared to handle the situation should it ever arrive. For well over two hundred years, our nation earned the respect of the entire planet for our defiance towards tyranny. We beat George III. We beat slavery. We beat fascism. We even beat the bounds of earth’s gravity. So when we find ourselves faced with an interminable camp representing us in Washington, I do not fear as much as others may.

Our Congress and our President are toying with a fire that they cannot quench. They may be cramming a bloated “stimulus” package down our throats, but they cannot silence the American “free enterprise” spirit. They cannot toy with our Constitution without incurring the wrath of those who have pledged to defend it. A symptom of Liberalism is the irrational belief that any government’s ways are superior to what has worked for thousands of years. Its antidote is obeying God’s Law while human law matures. While you can be American without believing in God, you cannot remain free while believing the state to be superior to the individual. This is our current Government’s most fatal flaw.

President Obama, who once seduced our nation with fraudulent claims of hope, now preaches eternal damnation if we do not obey his line-item entitlements without challenge. How much more hopeful we would be if our leader had actually spent some of his youth getting to know this very nation, getting to know the very people that he now serves. Instead, President Obama is trying to sacrifice our future in order to pay those who have elevated him to an office he may not actually deserve.

I possess one argument against Mr. Obama’s stimulus package that he cannot challenge: if we spend $1 Trillion now, how will we be able to withstand the loss of two or three of our cities through terrorism? If we bury ourselves further into debt by building new infrastructure, how will we be able to replace this infrastructure if al-Qaeda or Iran decides to destroy it? The terrorists are patient, but we are greedy. Those who obtain office through any means necessary do not care one iota about those of us who placed them there.

When failing automakers are ridiculed over the use of luxury jets, our President is flying seemingly everywhere on the most expensive one imaginable. His example is far more egregious, however. I can decide not to purchase a new car in protest. I cannot withhold from paying taxes. If Christ can humble Himself to wash the feet of His disciples, President Obama can wash his Administration of waste.

With Mexico on the verge of failure (its economy already failed once in 1982), terrorists on the verge of destroying several of our cities, and our economy on the verge of a liberal-induced depression, I will take the Bubbas over President Barry any day. At least the Bubbas do not want to steal any of my hard-earned money.

capeman said...

The Harvard students are dissatisfied with the student-faculty ratio there? Poor babies! And Mankiw is looking for an angel? Well, I don't feel sorry for him or his students!