Cutting funds to public higher education: now in New Hampshire

University System of New Hampshire logoI’ve been tracking a wave of American states pushing for cuts to higher education this year.  A new instance comes from New Hampshire, whose House of Representatives recently votes to cut its major public university system‘s budget back to 2005 levels.

“The budget passed by the House is a 9 percent cut to the current level of state support the [University System of New Hampshire] receives, and that is very disappointing,” UNH President Mark Huddleston said.

How much of a cut is this in dollars?

USNH had requested $205 million for the biennium, which would have allowed the system to freeze in-state tuition for the fourth consecutive year…
[Governor Maggie] Hassan proposed the system receive a total of $181 million for the biennium…
Around $28 million was cut from funds Hassan proposed be allocated to USNH.

Leaving roughly $151 million.

The motivation for these cuts is, as is often the case, competing demands from other parts of the state.  In New Hampshire it’s pressure to maintain roads wracked by harsh upper New England winters.

That state’s budget process is still ongoing, as its Senate needs to take up spending.  But we can hazard some early reflections:

  1. Higher education has a hard time lobbying for itself in a politically competitive arena.
  2. The Republican party seems to have taken cutting public higher ed to heart.  Note that the New Hampshire House has a Republican majority.  And note that, as is often the case with our recent bipartisan political commitment to reforming education, the Democratic governor proposed spending below what the university system requested.
  3. Should these cuts occur, we might anticipate a queen sacrifice move from one or more of the USNH campuses.

(via Recession Realities in Higher Education)

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