WASHINGTON, DC—While most colleges and universities across the country have responded to the financial crunch by raising tuition and asking for more money, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni argues in a newly released guide that they must now learn to do more with less by cutting costs. Cutting Costs: A Trustee’s Guide to Tough Economic Times is being sent to more than 10,000 trustees at some 600 colleges and universities across the country.
“Based on my experience, I simply don’t believe the cost increases we have been seeing in colleges and universities are sustainable,” said Robert L. McDowell, a former member of the Virginia Military Institute Board of Governors who endorsed the report in a letter to trustees. “Tuition costs have more than quadrupled over the last 30 years. If trustees don’t take on this issue, who will?”
The short guide, written by ACTA policy director Dr. Michael Poliakoff, encourages trustees to review their institutions’ financial information and work with administrators to cut costs. It outlines ten areas that trustees should look into to reduce expenses and provides examples of creative ideas that have been implemented across the country.
“It takes no courage or foresight to raise tuition,” said ACTA president Anne D. Neal. “Now is the time for trustees to take a hard look at their institution’s finances and identify some real cost-saving opportunities.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tuition has been increasing annually at more than three times the rate of inflation since 1978. There are now some 50 institutions in the country that charge $50,000 or more year in tuition, fees, room, and board.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an independent non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards, educated the public and published reports about such issues as good governance, historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas, and accreditation in higher education.