I learned today that in Georgia, an additional 2% is being cut from the University of Georgia budget on top of the current 6% budget reduction. And from Utah comes this report about similar reductions, with the same size of reductions being possible again next year (yes, a total of 15% eliminated from where the budgets were six months ago).
How can higher education possibly sustain this loss in financial support? It’s obvious that, like commercial entities, higher education will need to do some massive restructuring (can we lobby Capitol Hill for a bailout too?). What I’m wondering is whether higher education will ever be exactly the same? After such restructuring, will it return to like it was? Or will we enter a new age of higher education? Will the split between research faculty and teaching/adjunct faculty grow larger, killing off forever the classic professor who fulfills both roles? Will this be the disruption that tips the scales in favor of distance education? Will public universities severe their ties with the states, reject public funding, and become commercial enterprises?
I don’t know if things will change this drastically. Yet. But could the economic collapse represent the beginning of the end?