Saturday, November 12, 2011

University Math -> the University As a Rogue IRS

A few days ago, Stephanie Reitz reported in the Courant that UConn had funded a study of "recommendations from McKinsey & Co., which it paid $3.9 million last year to suggest ways to cut costs and boost income as the school's state subsidies drop."

Wow.  Four million dollars to find ways to cut costs or increase revenues.  That's a pretty amazing  amount of money to throw at such dare we say *obvious* recommendations.

  • Offer more year round classes!
  • Charge more for parking and busing
  • Eliminate sparsely enrolled majors
  • Consolidating technology
  • Centralized purchasing
  • Increasing ticket prices for popular sports
  • Reviewing sports budgets
  • Offering more online courses
  • More aggressive fund-raising
  • Staff attrition savings
  • Premium dorm room price increases
Really?  This is what we get for four million dollars?

Here are my open source suggestions.  If you think they're worth more than four million dollars then donate a dollar to the first charity you encounter after reading this.

Everyone with a brain knows that the true cost of education is in administration.
  • Eliminate 10% of the administration, topmost first.  Consolidate accordingly. 
Everyone familiar with the free ride program - that is that if a person works at UConn, their children attend tuition free - is a profoundly expensive and discriminatory -cough- "perk".
  • Eliminate the free tuition ride perks, they're discriminatory, expensive and unnecessary
It is not centralized purchasing that needs to be implemented, it is competitive purchasing that needs to be introduced.

  • Open the purchasing up to competitive bidding for quality products - quality need not be compromised, crony-ism needs to be eliminated
Privatize the University maintenance functions.
  •  The keystone kop buffoonery that has become local legend must end.  maintenance workers who drive 15 minutes back and forth to take 15 minute breaks,  the Rube Goldberg repair of dormitory leaks, and other sordid tales is empirical evidence enough to rethink these positions and processes.
Repeat and rinse these recommendations every two years until the budget is balanced. Make education affordable by being serious about offering an accessible, affordable State University program.

The University system has no right to impose its own new taxes in the form of fees, new charges, or other subversive fiscal tactics.  If the State can no longer afford the expense the Universities are incurring  then those bodies need to tighten their budgets not act like an independent agency that is royally entitled to more State tax money no matter how they get it.

CT's private sector citizens have been taking massive cuts in pay and benefits while the public sector employees and institutions yawn as they plan their retirement homes in low tax havens leaving their scorched earth fiscal carnage to those who have already been kicked too often.  It's time for everyone to share the economic realities facing the State and the nation.

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