Institutions Respond to Changing Federal and State Environments

Institutions Respond to Changing Federal and State Environments

Nancy Kleniewski
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2410-7.ch004
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Institutions of higher education must respond to the changing landscape of federal and state expectations. This chapter explores how that landscape has changed over the past two decades and how some institutions are responding. At the federal level, changes have affected financial aid, research funding, and government regulation. Changes at the state level include significant reductions in state support and increases in tuition. These changes are occurring as higher education becomes more of a marketplace than a public service. The chapter offers some strategies for institutions hoping to garner increased support, particularly at the state level.
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Background: History And Mission Of Higher Education

The earliest colleges in the Colonies and the new United States were private, religiously-based institutions, devoted primarily to educating “gentlemen” in the classics. The first state university was the University of Georgia, founded in 1785, followed closely by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1789. During the following century, the states established dozens of normal schools to train teachers for the growing population. Many farsighted leaders anticipated that wider access to higher education would help prepare the nation for the incipient wave of industrialization. The Morrill Act of 1862 provided the foundation for publicly-funded higher education based on the premise that public investment in higher learning would serve the public purpose by providing the knowledge base and skilled personnel necessary for the nation’s future.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, college and university enrollments grew rapidly. Overall college enrollment increased from 156,756 in the 1889-90 academic year to nearly 1.5 million in the 1939-40 year (Snyder, 1993, Table 23). The high-school movement resulted in a growing supply of students who were qualified to enter post-secondary school. In addition, growing industrial and technical companies found they were unable to provide on-the-job training to the large numbers of mechanics and other skilled personnel they were hiring. Thus, they looked to colleges and technical institutes to provide basic education for their potential employees (Goldin & Katz, 1998).

State governments supported this expansion of normal schools, technical institutes, and land grant universities with land and funding. Business owners partnered with political officials to promote colleges as economic development engines for their localities. Community leaders supported the establishment and growth of local colleges to build educated workforces and bring prestige to their communities. A similar wave of community college growth in the 1960s and 1970s offered post-secondary opportunities to students who had not been served by traditional colleges. The community college mission of workforce development for local companies laid a foundation for strong support and partnerships with local business and civic leaders. As had earlier happened with secondary schools, people came to see post-secondary education as a public benefit.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Applied Research: The use of existing knowledge and methodologies to solve problems.

Performance-Based Funding: Allocation of state resources to colleges based on the extent to which they meet specified goals or metrics.

For-Profit Sector: Institutions owned and operated by private companies as opposed to nonprofit organizations or state and local governments.

Marketization: The segmentation of higher education according to the academic and financial backgrounds of the students.

Completion Agenda: Goals set by external groups for the aggregate number of degrees and certificates produced by higher education institutions.

Tuition Discounting: The practice of lowering the published tuition by offering non-need-based scholarships.

Basic Research: The search for new knowledge whether or not it is applicable to solving problems.

Tax Expenditures: The amount of tax money not collected by the federal government due to provisions of the tax code, e.g., exemptions and dedications.

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