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Financial squeeze forcing changes.

U.S. colleges and universities are in the midst of a major realignment of their academic programs and services in response to severe financial pressures, according to the American Council on Education (ACE). Budgetary constraints especially are causing many schools to change enrollment policies as well as practices relating to faculty hiring, teaching, and tenure. While these measures are designed to allow institutions to adjust to limited financial resources, many also have the effect of limiting access to and in higher education.

ACE's 10th annual survey of changes in academic and administrative practices revealed that public colleges and universities continue to be plagued by financial difficulties. For a second consecutive year, more than two-thirds saw no real increases in their operating budgets once inflation was taken into account. Administrators are not optimistic that the end to budget constraints is near. About half expect further reductions next year. Twenty-nine percent at four-year and 39% at two-year public colleges said their school's over-all financial condition was "very good" or "excellent."

Twenty-one percent of institutions have taken steps to limit enrollment. Public four-year schools were most likely to report such efforts (34%), followed by independent colleges (20%) and public two-year schools (15%). The main reason cited by the vast majority of public institutions was reduced state/local funding. Caps on enrollment at independent colleges were imposed primarily because of limits on program capacity or decisions related to the institution's mission, with only eight percent blaming budgetary constraints.]

The shaky financial condition of public higher educations has translated into low morale for many faculty at four-year public colleges. While the majority of higher education institutions (79%) continue to appoint full-time faculty, adjustments in hiring patterns are evident. Fewer schools than last year increased the number of tenured faculty (43 vs. 48%), and 53% reported growth in the number of part-time faculty.

Meanwhile, erosion has taken in the proportion of institutions showing increases in the number of females on the faculty. In 1993 noted a net gain, compared with 61% in 1990. However, colleges and universities report they are taking a number of steps to promote the advancement of women, including symposia that address issues affecting females, family leave and sexual harassment policies, and curricula that integrate women's perspectives. Other actions aimed at improving the status of women faculty members include "stop the tenure clock" policies for junior faculty members with child-rearing responsibilities, salary inequity adjustments, aid for dual-career couples, and funds aimed at the recruitment of female faculty members.
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Title Annotation:at U.S. colleges and universities
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Dec 1, 1993
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