Troubles at Oklahoma and Earlham

Both large and small have similar issues. Money

Man - the small tuition dependent rural liberal art schools are just getting killed right now.

And who in their right might would send their kid to a public university in Oklahoma? Aren’t rock bottom education expenditures that state’s main claim to fame?

University of Oklahoma has claimed in the past to have the most National Merit Scholars. Not sure why. But there are majors offered in oil country not available elsewhere. Plus the football is great. And that is what really matters. Right ?

I’m always on the lookout for distressed assets for my students with admissions problems. Scandals and other bad news lead me to put the schools in question on more lists. They may offer more of a buyer’s market than their peers.

OU’s leadership must be careful to figure out how to balance the budget without inciting the kind of buildup of discontent that just needed a trigger to turn into lots of trouble at Mizzou.

@Hanna: I agree that schools with significant financial difficulties tend to admit less qualified students.

Just be sure that they don’t consider them “bunnies to be drowned”.

Oklahoma has a top meteorology program.

I’m from OK and will never go back, but I don’t see the OU thing as a dire situation. The state is full of OU fanatics, many who have never even set foot on the campus (or any campus for that matter). They’ll find a way to dig out.

It’s also a fine school despite OK’s education policies. As is OSU, my alma mater. My BS degree required 144 credits, about 20 more than most majors. My coursework in the college of Agriculture included calculus, law, economics, computer science, civil engineering, organic chem, etc. in addition to a lot of major specific classes.

If my kid wanted to go to college there, I’d be perfectly fine with it.

Agreed. Both OU and OSU are very good schools despite the state’s funding issues. I do think they’ll figure it out.

The tuition discounting piece is very interesting. It will be interesting to see what happens in the higher ed landscape over the next decade or so. These crazy tuition levels aren’t sustainable in the long-run except for the wealthiest colleges.

Top Colorado students often select OU and the private school, U of Tulsa as they are often less expensive than any instate solution for the smartest Colorado students. U of Colorado, Mines and CSU are top three in state public choices, offers National Merit Scholars absolutely nothing special.

At CU Boulder, the CO in state scholarships are based on GPA and SAT/ACT and the top award is $5000 a year or $20,000 over four years, barely makes a dent into our high in state tuitions and room and board plans. Colorado School of Mines is even more expensive than CU Boulder but beware the business college at CU Boulder has jacked up its price to higher than the CU Engineering program! . Colorado State a bit less, but OU is better price than all three for the top kids.

OU offers a highly ranked meteorology program, Petroleum engineering is top too. Also their Arabic language program is very strong. Their teacher’s college is good. Their music program is OK, and our students like Norman.

The shakeup will pass and things will be fine at OU. Its just business as usual in higher education administration, there are turnovers . OU is not particularly underfunded compared to other public colleges in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska etc , including U of Colorado.

We call U of Colorado a " public/private partnership" as it runs off of alumni donations and federal dollars, Colorado really does not give much money to higher education, we don’t have the state budget for that! Our property taxes are low and our state income tax is a flat 4.63%. Sales taxes are high but are taxed and collected by counties and local governments here. The state of Colorado does fund new building on our campuses though, but not a very high level of monetary support for faculty, administration, or scholarships for top in state students.

Here is OU’s Flagship Arabic Language program. We know a NMS who got a full ride to OU to study Arabic language in this program:

Nursing is also strong at OU. We know an Army ROTC nurse to graduate from this program at OU:

I would not knock OU, it will get over whatever headaches in funding and continue to be a go to university
for Colorado students who want to pay less but still get a quality education. Because they fund smart kids, eventually OU will get more donations from their smart alumni.

Oklahoma public and private schools are favored by Roman Catholics in Colorado as they all have strong Roman Catholic student groups on campus. Who would have guessed the Bible Belt also supports Roman Catholic students, but they do!

Our Roman Catholic private college, Regis University in Denver, is more of a teacher’s college, so not really the same caliber as U of Oklahoma or U of Tulsa for most students who want a rigorous education in engineering, foreign languages, nursing etc.

Here’s a law school with financial problems:

Public college funding issues can be erased with the stroke of a pen at the state legislature, so you should always treat them differently than private schools’ financial problems. OU getting a business sector President will likely roil the administration, and perhaps also the faculty, in the near term, but is far more likely to placate the state legislature which may be his intended audience (along with other outside donors).

Also, it is a rare college these days that cannot cut fat from the administration. There have been numerous studies showing the dramatic increase in administration personnel and spending over the last decades, especially at the upper levels; I bet those senior people laid off by the new OU President collectively made a minimum of $1 million-plus, a not-insignificant savings. My guess is that the President does a few more things like that, then goes to the state legislature and says, “See, you can trust us to spend your money wisely, so give us some more.” I would also bet there will be a major new push for private donors from this President, with his connections to business community. There is a LOT of money in Oklahoma that could be unlocked by the right cheerleader.

From the article: “You simply can’t operate efficiently with 20-something direct reports,” he said. “Nobody else does it that way, and we shouldn’t.”

This is a very valid point. Private industry continually looks to streamline org charts, and it seems the public sector is catching on. I mean, really, how many middle managers does a university need?

It is good sometimes for someone to come in from the outside to cut administrative bloat.

^ those weren’t middle managers. They were the equivalent of presidents/vice presidents reporting directly to the CEO.

“don’t see the OU thing as a dire situation”

Agreed. I wouldn’t recommend the schools to my students if I didn’t think they were still delivering quality education in the midst of the crisis. I am not at all worried that OU or any flagship is going to go under. (With tiny liberal arts colleges in crisis, you do have to worry about that.)

Consider the freshman enrollment drop at Mizzou following its race/football scandal. That’s a catastrophe for the people responsible for Mizzou’s budget. But it affects enrolled undergraduates very little if at all. There might even be an up side for current students in the way of housing availability, professor access, smaller pledge classes, etc.

Whether or not one recommends a particular university in the midst of a financial crises or readjustment depends upon the outlook for the short term as well as for the long term in addition to what areas are likely to be affected by the cuts.

University of Oklahoma will survive for the long term, but certain majors, schools and activities/sports may not that are important to a particular student or applicant.

Also, housing & fees & tuition may be affected including grant aid. Some schools, including Oklahoma I think, award scholarships renewable contingent on adequate funding.