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Full Version: Can Continued Rising Costs Be Sustained
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This commission freeze is obviously temporary unless the state either starts significant increases in funding or is forced to look at cut backs on the horizon. Of course this is a national issue. With relation to athletics? Athletic fees are included in this freeze. Can the continued rise of these fees be sustained without new sources of athletic revenue? But, the bigger question, can the continued rise in the cost of higher education across the board and the accompanying student debt problem be sustained?



https://www.thecentersquare.com/tennesse...d8c6c.html
Part of the reason that tuition has risen over the last 20 years or so is because TN, alongside many other states, shifted their focus away from direct appropriations to public universities and instead focused more on need and merit-based aid directly to students. Accordingly, the percentage of university funding from student tuition rose and the percentage of state funding decreased.

To illustrate, the per-student appropriations that TN sends to universities is about the same now as it was in 1985. It has decreased about 10% since 2001. Meanwhile, state aid for students attending public universities has very dramatically increased, a 830% increase from 2001-2020. This trend isn't just TN, but is similar throughout the country.

It is pretty simple- if the universities do not receive appropriations increases from the state that keep up with inflationary spending increases, the student tuition rates will have to increase. While more students receive state financial aid (Lottery scholarship, etc.) those who do not qualify, do not graduate in time, etc. will pay out much more tuition than they once did.
Financing at the State level is a lot of smoke and mirrors. There is little "free" community college provided by Tennessee. The reality is that program is a last dollar scholarship (apply the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship and Federal Financial Aid, and any other available scholarships) and IF the total doesn't meet tuition costs then Tennessee will chip in a bit. Even with this program, community college enrollment has been declining. It will be interesting to see what happens if the economy tanks. Historically demand for education is countercyclical. When employment is good, folks don't go to college-they work. When employment isn't good folks retool their skills in college.

In the late 90s the goal in Tennessee was for students to pay 33% of costs and the State to pay 67%. Fast forward to today and the State revenues to ETSU hover around 25% with the student paying 75%. In fairness, other states are worse.

What does it mean for athletics? If enrollment drops, their revenue from student fees goes down and vice versa. Athletics has done a pretty good job of securing funding for capital improvements but I don't know how well they do raising funds for scholarships and operations.

Looking at the ETSU Foundation (not just athletics) the endowment was at $151 million or about $10k per student in 2021. By comparison UVA-Wise endowment was $131 million or $68k per student. MTSU's endowment was $109 million or $5k per student. WCU endowment is $89 million or $7500 per student. JMU endowment is around $5500 per student. Looks like among Tennessee peers ETSU does pretty well, better than a local NC and VA peer. Wise apparently has a fantastic model and ETSU's is pretty good compared to peers.

Growth in endowment revenue may have more potential than does tuition revenue growth??

Athletic fees at ETSU have historically been low (in 2003 comparable to what I experienced as an undergrad in another state in the 1970s). That is no longer the case and they are comparable to Tennessee Public Institution peers so there may not be much room for increases.


As etsubuc pointed out, students will pay more if the State doesn't increase appropriations or if Lottery revenues don't increase.

Sorry for the rambling post.
I was watching the ETSU Board of Trustees meeting a few months ago and they had a good discussion about enrollment challenges. I think it was Dr. Noland that pointed out precisely what BucDoctor said, that enrollment has decreased among community colleges even when it is free. I would have to go back and rewatch it, but I think the quote from one of the board members was something along the lines of "students aren't buying what we are selling. Heck, we can't even give it away". Was also a very good discussion about the challenges of attracting young men as the new enrollees have increasingly been disproportionately female.

As far as athletics, I think it is clear that most universities can't rely on increasing student fees every year from current levels to support athletics and they can't raise ticket prices much more than current levels.

So, the success is going to depend on donor support. We saw the donor supported baseball practice/training facility just announced. The newest Committee for 125 report mentions a football stadium expansion and a dedicated marching band space within the next 5 years and starting a new women's athletic program within the next 10 years. It will be interesting to see who in the community steps up to support these initiatives.
We have talked on here about state funding and the College of Pharmacy. Of course it was established as a private college at a public institution - and there are those out there (the UT crowd) that continually remind ETSU of that especially as ETSU has been seeking tuition assistance funding from the state. Perhaps this venture with Ballard can evolve into some sort of partnership to help address that tuition inequality issue if the state continues dug in and opposed to helping — as if NE Tennessee taxpayers and citizens in need of health care aren’t paying taxes to help support the UT pharmacy school.

https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/news/et...e4b4a.html
(05-24-2022 11:04 AM)Buc66 Wrote: [ -> ]We have talked on here about state funding and the College of Pharmacy. Of course it was established as a private college at a public institution - and there are those out there (the UT crowd) that continually remind ETSU of that especially as ETSU has been seeking tuition assistance funding from the state. Perhaps this venture with Ballard can evolve into some sort of partnership to help address that tuition inequality issue if the state continues dug in and opposed to helping — as if NE Tennessee taxpayers and citizens in need of health care aren’t paying taxes to help support the UT pharmacy school.

https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/news/et...e4b4a.html
Totally agree. And they also wish our fine Medical School were not here. We must continue the fight.
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