".... Moody’s issued a negative outlook for a majority of colleges and universities heavily dependent on tuition and state revenue."
The NY Times is running a series on higher education. From the second installment, titled “Slowly, as Student Debt Rises, Colleges Confront Costs” by Andrew Martin (here):
…. Moody’s Investors Service, in a report earlier this year, said it had a favorable outlook for the nation’s most elite private colleges and large state institutions, those with the “strongest market positions” that had multiple ways to generate revenue. Ohio State, for instance, received a stable outlook from Moody’s last fall, though the report cautioned about the school’s debt and reliance on its medical center for revenue.
“Tuition levels are at a tipping point,” Moody’s wrote, adding later, “We anticipate an ongoing bifurcation of student demand favoring the highest quality and most affordable higher education options.” …..
Did Moody's issue a negative outlook for any Oregon institutions? The Oregon University System could be in trouble, unable to be in that “highest quality" category and unable to compete on “affordability.”
…. There is a dispute about why college costs have risen so much. Before the economic crisis, some critics argue, both public and private colleges participated in a costly “arms race” to provide better amenities to lure the best students and faculty: new dormitories with one student to a room, frequent sabbaticals for professors, upscale cafeteria food, expanded counseling services and gymnasiums that rival the fanciest health clubs in Manhattan.
Others say education is intrinsically expensive. Health care costs, for instance, have taken a toll, since colleges are labor-intensive. And the expense of keeping up with technology, like wireless Internet and new computers, is high…..
The Oregon University System needs to get much more sophisticated about its costs. It needs more rigorous and public cost accounting of many of its activities and programs.