Lawmakers cut pay bonuses for MD system chancellor
- The Washington Post profiles University System of Maryland Chancellor Robert Caret, a controversial leader who discusses the state's approach to adjusting to new realities of funding for higher education and its business model.
- Caret, who formerly served as president of USM member institution Towson University, said the price of public education annually equals the cost of a Ford Focus ($8,000), after tuition discounts and scholarships. The greatest costs of attendance usually come from fixed prices for room and board, fees and books, he said.
- He categorized his previous salary, and the high salary of other administrators, as a market-driven reality of systems and states paying for the experience. Fundraising, management and insight come with price tags driven by other systems and expected outcomes, but Maryland in particular ran a deficit of $1.2 billion, which required $25 million in cuts and a 2% tuition increase statewide.
Public systems of higher education have come under great scrutiny in recent years as the primary culprits behind rising costs in the industry. Good leaders will always be able to justify every expense, and particularly those tied to administration, but the marketplace is rejecting these costs, along with the soaring debts and pass-along costs for capital improvements to campuses.
Executives and legislators should assess systems down to the most important elements which align with student success outcomes. Is there a need for several vice presidents if positions overlap? Can system and institutional research or lobbying be contracted out at lower costs? Higher education as an industry will not survive as a business model without consolidation of some institutions, and more importantly, administrative functions.