Compared to other nations, the United States may be losing ground in higher education amidst the global recession, due in large part to “uncoordinated and reactionary” spending cuts. These findings are based on a recent report, “Higher Education Budgets and the Global Recession: Tracking Varied National Responses and Their Consequences,” from the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley. The paper’s author, John Aubrey Douglass, a senior research fellow at the center, analyzed the impact of the recession on higher-education budgets in several member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Internationally, he says, “political leaders see higher education as a key to both short-term economic recovery and long-term competitiveness.”
While Mr. Douglass credits the Obama administration’s policies for easing the strain on higher education, he found that, “outside the United States, most countries have thus far avoided large cuts to college budgets and that, in fact, many nations have used the recession to speed up higher-education reforms.” By contrast, 34 American states have already made deep reductions in spending on higher education, in some cases limiting college access, and the U.S. now ranks 10th in the proportion of its adults ages 25 to 34 who hold at least an associate degree.
The current economic climate forces us all to make hard choices, and higher education isn’t being asked to do anything unlike what business and other enterprises are asked to do right now. Challenging established practices give us the opportunity to consider new ways of doing things to trim the fat. It also helps us clarify our mission and improve our institutions. If the U.S. hopes to prepare a world-class workforce, educators needs to lead the way through this kind of innovative thinking and resilience. If we are less competitive educationally, we will soon become less competitive economically. In a restricted economy, we can and must work together to creatively meet our nation and our world’s economic and social priorities. I agree with Bill and Melinda Gates philosophy that a quality education should be viewed as a civil right in our country. The way America chooses to deploy its strengths (entrepreneurship) and overcomes its weaknesses (academics) will tell if we will remain a global leader in the 21st century. My life’s work is devoted to education reform, and the programs I’ve created through LifeBound are helping lead the way for our country to regain the ground it’s lost, starting in elementary school. For review copies of our materials, call our toll free # 1.877.737.8510 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Karin Fischer
The recent recession could accelerate global shifts in the race to educate more people and produce top-flight research, and, as a result, the United States could lose ground.
That’s the conclusion of a new paper by the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley. John Aubrey Douglass, the paper’s author and a senior research fellow at the center, examined the impact of the economic downturn on higher-education budgets in several member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Mr. Douglass found that, outside the United States, most countries have thus far avoided large cuts to college budgets and that, in fact, many nations have used the recession to speed up higher-education reforms. By contrast, some 34 American states have already made major reductions in spending on higher education, in some cases limiting college access.
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