- In a surprising rant against higher education spending and construct made during an address to California’s Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Jerry Brown told attendees that higher education would be better suited following a business model used by the restaurant chain Chipotle in helping students to graduate faster and at lower costs, according to reporting in the Sacramento Bee.
- Brown accused public institutions and professors of requiring too many "pet projects" in course offerings, and recommended that a limited menu with specific training in career preparation would expedite student degree tracks and provide greater efficiency for when courses can be offered.
- Public university officials have balked at Brown’s budget recommendations for the upcoming year — a roughly 3% increase to $92 million for each of the two state university systems. Both systems are lobbying for more money — the University of California system wants another $105 million in funding and the California State system wants $171 million. Legislators added more funding in next year's state budget for them, but Brown is mum on whether the increases will meet his approval for signature.
Elected officials across the country have railed against higher education spending and the negative outcomes it yields for student completion and workforce training. From digital textbooks to providing resources for transportation, food and tuition, colleges are working to solve one half of the cost crisis by helping students regarded as the new traditional student to surpass obstacles to retention and graduation.
But institutions also have to be wary of the rants by legislators, and many are answering the call with an increased focus on public-private partnerships, an emphasis on broadening free speech guidelines, considering non-traditional candidates for the highest levels of campus leadership. While there is little that is likely to be done to revamp the way four-year institutions develop curriculum and plan out degree pathways, these are just a few of the areas in which leaders are showing a willingness to listen to elected officials and their ideas about how the future of higher education should take shape.