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More University Pain

Business week reports on the funding crunch in universities:

The past year has been one of the most brutal for the higher education world in decades, with private schools struggling to stay afloat and even some of the most elite institutions suffering huge endowment losses and cutbacks. But state schools perhaps have been hit the hardest, with dwindling government support and increasing student demand casting their collective future in doubt. Already battered by the economic downturn, many are bracing for an even tougher year ahead.

Now, let’s look long term. What’s happening now is a partial withdrawing of the government’s obligation to fund universities. Universities are in turn turning to students for increased tuition and, in some cases, to for-profit sub-contractors. Many universities are already relying to a greater degree on student tuition and corporate fundraising/sponsorship. We are witnessing the beginning of a dramatic for-profit, market driven shift in higher education. Government funding in most universities now accounts for less of the total operating budget than it did ten or twenty years ago. The shift is well underway. The current economy is just a strong push along the path already selected.