University funding is in trouble. All of it. That’s the conclusion from a report by Moody’s Investor Services looking at the tradition ways colleges and universities are funded: Tuition, public funding, research money, philanthropy and endowments.
The report’s authors and other higher education observers say the individual components of the report come as no surprise and are backed up by a slew of reports in the past year that have called into question the viability of all these revenue sources. But observers note that the breadth of the Moody’s report paints a picture likely to capture more attention than the piecemeal analyses.
“What’s new here is not the individual pieces,” said Rick Staisloff, a former college chief financial officer who now consults on higher education finance issues. “What’s new is that in a collective way, the model that we in higher education have been employing since the 1960s is really being called into question by external factors. And it’s that collectiveness that creates a new sense of urgency.”