New Ways to Fund Higher Ed?

The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, of which the AAUP is a part, has begun a drive to involve faculty in the search for solutions to the seemingly unending cycle of funding cuts, privatization, soaring tuition and academic shut-downs. On Tuesday, the campaign introduced three working papers with ideas on ways to fund higher education.

The  working papers address the common assumption that funding higher education through public means rather than through skyrocketing tuition is simply impossible. View the working papers and submit your comments at: www.futureofhighered.org.

The briefing took place on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Lincoln signed the 1862 Morrill Act that initiated America’s public higher education system, starting with Land Grant Colleges. Today that system spans the nation but is on the road to elimination.

One of the papers, authored by Rudy Fichtenbaum, an economics professor at Wright State University in Ohio and AAUP president, explores a currently unused tax revenue source that could be tapped if there were the political will to provide adequate public funding for higher education. In it, Fichtenbaum explains how to achieve vastly improved funding for higher education through a miniscule tax on selected financial transactions.

Another paper explores the notion of free higher education and examines what the actual cost to provide it would be. Bob Samuels, a University of California Los Angeles faculty member, argues that  we could make big strides towards free public higher education by reallocating current governmental expenditures for higher education and by eliminating regressive tax breaks.

The third paper, using the state of California as a test case, looks at the real magnitude of returning to recent, more adequate levels of state funding for higher education. Stanton Glantz, a professor at UC San Francisco, describes that “resetting” higher education funding to more adequate past levels would require only very small adjustments in the median income tax return.

Add your voice to the conversation: See and post your comments on stories about the working papers in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.  Or join a national discussion among faculty members on the campaign's website and Facebook page.
 

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, February 13, 2013