Post Academic

Broke-Ass Schools: Getting a little less broke-ass?

Posted in Broke-Ass Schools by postacademic on May 6, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

No, we’re not hosting some kind of GOP convention here at Post Academic today.  It’s just that when I hear “earmarks”, I think of John McCain, just like UC budget issues–usually woes–conjure up images of my namesake, the Governator.  Here’s some news about how broke-ass state universities are trying to become a little less broke-ass…

"John McCain Seattle" by Dan Bennett (Creative Commons)

1. This is bad news…for John McCain!: Last week, Inside Higher Ed reported on congressional appropriations earmarked for institutions of higher learning, which, by their estimate, came to $1,982,532,150.  Overall, that accounts for about 12% of the total amount of earmarks for 2010, around $16 bill.  Of course, let’s not be purity trolls about earmarks like John McCain, especially if they go to people and entities that need money: So long as these colleges aren’t researching ways to kill people (which they might be), earmarks can help financially strapped institutions conduct research and hire people, among other things.

Interestingly enough, guess where many of the schools which have the prime places at the pork barrel trough are from?  “Conservatively” fiscal red states, of course, like Mississippi and Louisiana, which thought about rejecting federal stimulus funds.  That isn’t to say they shouldn’t get the earmarks–more power to ’em!–but you gotta admit there’s at least a little bit of saying one thing and doing another by the politicians going on here.  On with the top 10:

1. University of Alabama–around $59 mill

2. Mississippi State–around $48 mill

3. Texas A&M–$40 mill

4. University of North Dakota–almost $40 mill

5. Ole Miss–$33 mill+

6. University of Hawaii–$33 mill+

7. UMass-Boston–$33 mill

8. Utah State–$27 mill

9. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology–$27 mill

10. Louisiana State–$26 mill+

See the rest of the list and analysis on education earmarks at the IHE story linked above.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger Vancouver 2010 torch relay" by Toby (Creative Commons)

2. “I’ll be back”–with more funding?  Maybe?: Last week, the Governator announced that he won’t be signing any state budget without significant provisions for funding to the UCs, the Cal States, and the state’s community colleges, with $848 million going back to the state’s university systems.  Also, any budget bill must include funding for the Cal Grant financial aid program.  $848 million is a huge number, of course, but the scary thing is that it’s only about half of the $1.7 billion budget cut the three systems have absorbed this year.  UC Prez Mark Yudof has described his boss’s decision to restore half the budget cuts as “visionary”, although I’m not sure whether that counts as an endorsement or a kiss of death to most UC followers.  (This story also gives us an excuse to link this NYTimes interview with Yudof, which never gets old!)  So maybe Ahnold isn’t going to be Mr. Education Budget Freeze any more, but it doesn’t seem like the UC is out of the furlough and tuition raise woods just quite yet, either.

One Response to 'Broke-Ass Schools: Getting a little less broke-ass?'

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  1. ProfL said,

    Wow, thanks for that story about the federal budget. I was astonished to see that UMass-Boston is on the list as the only blue-state school. Unfortunately the money in this case is almost completely redundant, which probably explains why the story has not been publicized at all around here. The Edward Kennedy Institute for the Study of the Senate was going to be built anyway, as $50 million of state bonds were approved last year. Unless the cost has skyrocketed, the majority of that expense has, it seems, been redistributed to U.S. taxpayers; with almost the whole sum of the $33 million for UMB going to that center. I’m skeptical of its value when there are so many other needs on campus, and confused about why the bulk of the funds are coming out of the Defense part of the budget, but I suppose it’s no less irrelevant than the $5 million given to a number of schools to study “Wood Utilization.”

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