States Start Gutting College Spending Due To Economic Shutdowns

State governors may be in front of microphones pledging to keep their citizens safe from the Wuhan virus, but behind the scenes, they are slashing budgets from purposefully shutting off tax revenue. They are also not telling citizens, the federal government will not be bailing them out for total losses.

Financial pain from the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the nation’s colleges and universities hard, and Northwest Missouri State University is no exception.

Mike Parsons, the state’s Republican governor, who is dealing with his own revenue problems as businesses shutter and unemployment skyrockets, announced $180 million in cuts in the budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Nearly half of that amount ($76.3 million) is being cut from the state contribution to community and four-year colleges.

And higher education is already taking hits from state cuts. Expecting deep losses in revenue, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy last month froze $920 million in state spending for the remainder of the state’s budget year, which ends Sept. 30​, including $122 million for public colleges and universities. The cuts represent half the funding the colleges were supposed to get from the state in the next three months.

Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Democratic governor, had proposed increasing higher education spending by 3 percent earlier this year, including an expansion for the state’s free community college program. Now, the state is forecasting a drop in revenue this budget year, which started this month, according to Robert Mujica, New York’s budget director. The state is working on announcing an initial $10 billion in budget cuts in the next few weeks, and could make more later in the year if the economy doesn’t improve.

On the other coast, a spokesman for the University of California system said it is hoping the state will be able to provide enough funding “to keep UC campuses operating at current service levels, especially due to the challenging economic conditions brought on by COVID-19.” The system also is hoping the state will still make good on the $217.7 million increase the state’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, proposed in January, before the epidemic worsened.

But Newsom said at a press conference two weeks ago, “The January budget is no longer operable … The world has radically changed since the January budget was proposed.”

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Published by Hoosier Econ

Located out of Central Indiana. Blogger of economics, politics and societal trends.

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