An Economic Day of Reckoning for America’s Colleges

Interesting video from The Chronicle of Higher Education showing speakers and attendees at the Chronicle‘s Leadership Forum, held on June 7-8 in Washington, D.C., hashing over the question of just how worried colleges ought to be about the economy, and how they ought to respond to the crisis.

Their bottom line: Brace for serious change.

The words of Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University and popular blogger at The Marginal Revolution, are particularly noteworthy and compelling:

Even if the economy doesn’t get worse, for higher education it will get worse in two years’ time. If the economy gets even worse, that’s yet another problem. And I’m even assuming the economy stays okay.

The key is to make tough decisions in good times. When bad times come, your hand is forced. You don’t have that many easy cuts to make. When it feels like you don’t have to make cuts, that’s when you need the discipline.

….I think right now people are behaving as if everything will be the way it used to be, and they’re not putting enough aside in reserve funds, and they’re engaging in short-term behavior just like our banks were doing two years ago. And so there will be major cuts coming for 2011. Or even if we have another stimulus, that stimulus won’t last forever. It will only postpone this day of reckoning. And it will happen. Right now we’re a bit blind. Short-termism.

Also see my three-part series about the future of America’s colleges in a world that has entered a quasi-permanent and fully apocalyptic economic crisis:

America’s Colleges at a Crossroads – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on June 18, 2009, in Economy, Education and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.

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