Just read this item over at thestate.com:
Gov. Nikki Haley and higher education leaders said today they are working together on ways to objectively measure the performance of South Carolina’s public colleges and universities.
School officials said Tuesday they will provide the governor with data including class sizes, the number of in-state and out-of-state students, classroom spending and their economic development impact. The goal, Haley said, is to determine which schools were getting the best results from their budgets.
State spending on higher education has been cut in recent years, and, with the state facing an $830 million budget deficit, public colleges likely face more cuts…
College officials said they welcomed the opportunity to show their value.
“Accountability and transparency and quality can all coexist,” said Clemson University president James Barker.
Barker said he had not had a similar meeting with former Gov. Mark Sanford, who targeted rising higher education costs.
“It felt very different,” Barker said.
I’m with President Barker on this: It’s great that Nikki Haley even cares enough to talk to the public higher ed institutions. Her predecessor’s lack of interest was deafening.
But as she presumes to decide the institution’s fiscal fate (suddenly, I’m flashing on Rowan and Martin: the Fickle Finger of Fiscal Fate), there’s one number I hope she absorbs before any other: 10.9 percent.
That’s how much of the USC system’s total budget is provided by state appropriations. For USC Columbia, it’s 10.3 percent. (I don’t have the numbers for the other institutions in front of me at the moment.) It used to be more like 90.
The college administrators are too polite, and too politic to say it (personally, I’d be tempted to say to everybody at the State House, “Yeah, and I’m going to care about you and your opinion of what I’m doing, oh, about 10.9 percent.”), and I suspect they are truly pleased that Nikki wants to work with them at all. It’s a nice change. But it would be good if politicos who want to call the tune for these institutions were a little more cognizant of just how little they are paying to the piper.