Financial crisis hits academia 1

The New York Times reported this last week on the financial difficulties that higher education institutions are experiencing and today I went to a mentee workshop for the Oxford Career Center’s “Career Accelerator” program. What do these two things have in common? Well, with universities as diverse as Arizona State and Brown cutting jobs, it is important that I have every advantage possible to get a job in this slightly tougher atmosphere.

Some have mentioned that higher education is a recession-proof industry but it is clear that is not true! California is cutting $65.5 million from the state system, while the University of Florida has reduced academic staff by 430 this year and is expected to cut another 10% from the budget in this next year … possibly cutting even more staff in the next year. According to the NYT, this is not just effecting state systems (where it does have a larger effect) but also private schools (where the demand for financial aid is/will increase).

If the leaders of the world are paying attention to me, I have a solution for improving the economy (both long- and short-term). Increase funding for any/all educational institutions! Why? Educational institutions are great spenders of money … they use large amounts of staff (academics, technical, support, maintenance, etc.), large amounts of resources (everything from apples to xylophones), and result in people who can and will contribute to society (college graduates earn more money). The current economic problems are not going to respond to quick fixes and decreasing the expenditure on education, even for a short period, will only delay finding a set of permanent solutions.

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