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University mergers need to be transparent and inclusive - University World News

University mergers need to be transparent and inclusive #SCUP: based on research...
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Financing Four-Year Public Higher Education in Oregon: Projecting Funding Need and Establishing an Appropriate Student and State Share of Costs

This Planning for Higher Education article is authored by authored by "Trends in Higher Education II: Where Are We Headed?" symposium speaker Tom Anderes.

The Oregon University System has developed a resource allocation model intended to equitably distribute state funding based on university mission and enrollments by level of instruction. The methodology is grounded on identifying and achieving the median of peer university funding. A primary feature of the model is that dollars (general fund and tuition and fees) follow the student to his or her enrolling university and are not redistributed to other system programs and universities. The model rewards campuses for meeting or exceeding system and university objectives. Accountability for achieving key indicators and stimulating resident participation is the key ingredient of budget decision making. Ultimately, the peer-based methodology has provided significant latitude to the universities in planning their enrollment and program strategies but within a framework of board, gubernatorial, and legislative anticipation and expectation.

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Balancing Cost-Savings and Outcomes | Campus Consolidation in Georgia

James T. Minor, of the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) expresses concerns about the big plans in the Georgia system. (A related recent SCUP post about research on European campus consolidation is here.)

"Finally, there is very little experience in the four-year sector of higher education with modern-day consolidations. Strong positive correlations between this kind of consolidation and educational outcomes do not exist. In fact, the potential for negative outcomes must be considered. In other words, it is possible to achieve cost savings at the expense of institutional effectiveness, the student experience or their chances of earning a degree in some cases. Creating economies of scale with a population of students who typically require more support to complete college does not necessarily equal better outcomes. Understanding the educational trade-offs on the front-end is important rather than experiencing them haphazardly.

The process of transforming eight public institutions into four will offer an interesting experiment to be observed by the higher education community. If students represent the subjects, I hope the outcomes and profit margins are worthwhile."

Katie Keig's curator insight, October 16, 2014 3:59 PM

The fact that there is not much research done on the correlation of merging schools and decreased financial strains concerns me as a student of University of North Georgia. From what I understood of the merger that occured two years ago, Gainesville State College was one of the few Georgia schools  not in debt and actually do quite well despite the recession and North Georgia College and State University was very much in debt. The merger was to equal out and help both schools, NGCSU in the short run and GSC in the long run because it was making it a bigger school. However, bigger isn't always better and I did not ask for this merger and am upset at the higher tuition at Gainesville due to the merger. I and several other people considered going to the new Georgia Gwinnett College because it is cheaper. The research should not just be done on numbers but how students feel because that's where the money is coming from. Student opinion was not considered at all when the announcement of the merger appeared in 2012 and now all I've seen as a Communication student is tuition increase and now we have a bachelors for Communication which we would have had at Gainesville State College anyway.!

Connecticut merges community colleges and four-year system | Inside Higher Ed

Tens of millions in hoped-for savings from system consolidation in Connecticut has come down to $4.3M, still motivation enough for state leaders:

"The state’s budget woes have contributed to the urgency for a new way of doing business at public institutions. Community colleges, the Connecticut State University System and Charter Oak have all felt the pain, absorbing 8 percent state budget cuts this year, with a 12 percent reduction looming for 2012-13, reports The CT Mirror.

Board consolidation is a trendy idea in some states, particularly when budgets are tight. Louisiana is currently discussing whether to merge its various higher education boards, and a Rhode Island lawmaker recently proposed combining K-12 and higher education boards. (Of course, in some states that have had centralized systems, the economic woes have brought the reverse -- campaigns for more independence for institutions, and to break up system boards.)

Also contributing to the push for consolidation in Connecticut, in all likelihood, was a series of publicized missteps by the Connecticut State University System, most notably raises given to system leaders during the recession. The raises were criticized and eventually scaled back, and David Carter, the system’s chancellor, was ousted last year."

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