Keynesian Community College | Confessions of a Community College Dean

"When tuition was a relatively small piece of the budget, it worked well as a sort of Keynesian stabilizer. It went up when enrollment did, mostly covering the marginal cost of the next students, but we had operating funding to cover the base when enrollment dropped. Over the years, though, tuition has become the majority of the budget. When that happens, we’re basing permanent commitments — like tenure — on fluctuating revenues. That’s not sustainable. Colleges sometimes compensate by moving more of the faculty to contingent status, but that just offloads the unsustainability from the institution to individual people. And over time, it can have negative effects on quality, thereby defeating the purpose."