- Budget concerns and college affordability lead the list of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' latest briefing on public institution priorities for the upcoming year.
- Political issues, like undocumented students, campus carry and academic freedom also appear on the list, along with issues like workforce development and campus safety.
- The briefing underscores dramatic changes in political power in many states, some under conservative majority for the first time in decades.
Many colleges, especially throughout the south and Midwest, are already experiencing the effects of new political leadership. Lawmakers in Kentucky and Illinois have made dramatic changes to campuses and policies which impact budget and management, and for college leaders, have created new uncertainties about how to set institutional priorities for research and growth.
Campus executives, more than ever, will have to become effective lobbyists to convince lawmakers to go against their political and fiscal ideologies to support higher education, and the most compelling case that can be made is the long-term wealth that college investment yields for towns and cities.