Many special interest groups within Pennsylvania are still reeling from Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget cuts that will dramatically impact many of these complacent institutions and organizations within the state. For far too long, these groups have been getting their greedy little palms greased each and every time they echoed their poor me pleas through the exulted halls of our Democrat controlled state house.
But the party days, compliments of the Pennsylvania taxpayers, are coming to a close. State workers can expect to see the face of fiscal restraint in the form of salary rollbacks and increased contributions to healthcare benefits. Layoffs are also part of the austerity picture with an estimated 1,500 state workers in line for pink slips.
One of the hardest hit recipients of reduced government largess will be state-supported colleges and universities. Public higher education will essentially see a 50% reduction in the state’s contribution to their ongoing operations. And that of course means lots of belt-tightening on university campuses, something the academic talking heads seem unable to master. Welcome to Financial Reality 101, boys and girls.
Penn State President, Graham Spanier, decried the monetary cuts for his institution stating that the Governor seemed to be pushing for the privatization of public higher education.
A funding gap this large is going to fundamentally change the way we operate, from the number of students we can educate, to the tuition we must charge, to the programs we offer and the services we can provide, to the number of employees and the research we undertake.
Oh, how heartbreaking! Penn State University will now have to operate within a realistic financial environment as opposed to the rapacious surreal realm of I want it, so you pay for it. How shocking, that the administrators of PSU will now have to review their programs and services and evaluate them based on quality, value, and cost. How sad-making, that such exulted research like the pseudo-scientific slop being churned out by Michael Mann, Penn State’s Professor of Meteorology, might get scaled down to earthly believability. How would the university ever cope without all those faux social science programs or the intellectual cachet bestowed upon them by the ravings of a hockey stick huckster?
These tough money times can provide an opportunity for state universities to reexamine their missions and take an in-depth look at the true value of the programs they are proffering to their students. At a time when the Governor of Texas is moving forward with the development of $10,000 bachelor degree programs, why would any state-funded academic administrator today believe that the same old over-priced bloated bilge being served up as the thoroughbred of higher education could possibly waddle its fat fanny well into the 21st century?
Hopefully Mr. Spanier is correct and these budget cuts will indeed force the state’s universities to fundamentally change the way they operate. For why should the taxpayer continue to sink more money into these dilettantish dinosaurs? Commonsense needs to make a comeback on our college campuses.