Provost Michael Kotlikoff discussed changes to international student financial aid and the Student Assembly passed a referendum that would allow students to take American Sign Language for their college language requirement at their weekly meeting Thursday.
American higher education is facing an ever-growing plague of exploding tuition costs. Currently, the average tuition rate for private schools stands at an eye-popping $32,405 –– and the number keeps growing. As each year passes, more and more students contribute to the ballooning student debt bubble (which currently totals $1.2 trillion). And considering the modern job market all but demands at least a bachelor’s degree, America’s student loan crisis is set to grow even further. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to look into how the nation’s colleges and universities can effectively respond to this growing crisis. To examine where changes can be made, I suggest that we look at the micro-level — specifically, we need to look at how changes can be made at a single university.
The University announced Wednesday that Executive Vice President Stephen Golding has resigned from his role as the overseer of finance and administration. Come July 31, he will move to a new role as senior consultant to President David Skorton, where he will advise the president on Cornell’s role in the Upstate New York economy. Golding has served as the executive vice president since April of 2005.
Golding told the University: “It is even more essential today than ever before that we develop effective strategies to leverage the positive role they can play in promoting the New York state economy in the coming decade.”
The Obama administration, by its own admission, is redefining the role of the federal government. This is evidenced by the President’s budget for the fiscal year 2010, which is not only a document of numbers and figures, but one of goals, priorities and yes, ideology. This is not to say that all aspects of the President’s budget are misguided, but Americans need to be made aware of the changing reality in which we are living.
While Cornell faces a $200 million budget shortfall and University-wide budget cuts, the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is continuing to expand. The Qatari campus, which is largely funded by a non-profit organization established by the Qatari government, expects a larger budget and expanded research program next year.
Cornell’s campus in Qatar, a small nation on the Persian Gulf, was established in 2002. It has not yet reached its “full maturity,” said Stephen Cohen, the associate provost of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
“Overall, the student body is still growing and faculty is growing,” he said.
President David Skorton outlined several measures the University will take to combat state budget cuts and revenue losses resulting from the Wall Street crisis in a e-mail sent to the Cornell community yesterday. Though the long-term effects of the current state of the economy will not be known for several years, actions will be taken immediately in anticipation of further cuts and continued losses.
“While we cannot be certain about the dimensions, depth and duration of the difficulty, we are confident Cornell is in a good position to adjust operations and budget to address a loss in revenue in the wake of the financial crisis, relying on the institutional expertise and commitment of faculty, staff, alumni, students and friends,” Skorton stated.
As the candidates continue to talk about the economy, tax policy and ideas for buttressing the financial markets, the federal budget deficit, currently at approximately $455 billion, according to the White House, has come under scrutiny. At the most recent presidential debate, both candidates were asked how they might close the gap in the federal budget by the end of their first term. And what do you know, both candidates skated around the answer. Well, the real answer is that the budget deficit most likely cannot be closed within four years, nor does the deficit as it stands pose a large problem.
The slowing economy is affecting the outlook for the 2008 Tompkins County budget, which will have to accommodate a significant cut in expenditures. Nathan Shinagawa ’05 (D-4th Ward), the Tompkins County Legislature Budget and Capital Committee chairman, described the situation as “tough” and said that his colleagues in other counties are facing similar cuts.
“When the state is in a budget crunch, it’s [an] easy temptation to push costs over to the county,” Shinagawa said.
The Tompkins County Budget and Capital Committee met with Tompkins County Administrator Steve Whicher yesterday to discuss the possible effects of New York State Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposed 2009 budget.
The changes in the state budget could have a potentially negative impact on the county’s budget — ranging from $500,000 to $1 million — unless the county legislature makes some policy changes to offset the state’s changes. In order to help make up for the cut in state funding, the state’s proposal also gives the state legislature the authority to increase fees.