Expert Interviews

DATE: August 30, 2017

AUTHOR: Aaron Fernandes

The overview report for this project reflects one distinct point of view on higher education finance. In addition to the resources cited in the brief, a number of experts were consulted for their unique perspective or expertise. Excerpts from those interviews are included below to provide more depth and/or alternative perspectives on how postsecondary education in the United States is funded.

Interview with Sandy Baum, Senior Fellow, Education Policy Program, Urban Institute. This interview with Sandy Baum, author of Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing (2016), addresses federal student aid issues and ways to make the investment more efficient, more effective, and more transparent. It also touches on alternative pathways, traditional-aged and adult students,
and eliminating tax credits.

Interview with Kevin Carey, Director, Education Policy Program, New America Foundation. This interview with Kevin Carey, author of The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere (2015), addresses the financial barriers to higher education, the need for public support and subsidies for higher education as well as the need for partnerships, and a possible transformation of public universities.

Interview with Sherman Dorn, Professor and Director of the Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation, Arizona State University. This interview with Arizona-based Sherman Dorn, author of Accountability Frankenstein (2007), addresses the cyclical nature of higher education demand, declining state funding, the tendency to cut budgets and raise tuition during bad economic times, and mobilizing alumni networks for state funding support.

Interview with Matt Fajack, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, UNC Chapel Hill. This interview with Matt Fajack, who worked primarily in the business sector before entering higher education, highlights Responsibility Center Management, appropriations and tuition, differential

Interview with James Garland, former president of Miami University of Ohio. This interview with James Garland, author of Saving Alma Mater: A Rescue Plan for America’s Public Universities (2010), addresses the possibility of institutions being able to set tuition at market rates, sufficiency and efficiency in higher education, and competition among institutions.

Interview with Bruce Johnstone, an internationally-known expert on higher education finance and governance, and co-author of Financing Higher Education Worldwide. This interview addresses shifts from public to private funding of higher education, the uniqueness of undergraduate liberal arts in the U.S., the transformation of privilege and wealth inter-generationally, and income-contingent loans.

Interview with David Levinson, President, Norwalk Community College. This interview with David Levinson, who has a background in sociology, highlights the importance of partnering with communities, how to develop successful learners, and the interdependency of colleges and universities.

Interview with Harold Miller, President and CEO, Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform. A renowned expert on healthcare payment and delivery reform based in Pennsylvania, Harold Miller discusses the similarities and differences between the healthcare industry and higher education, including payment system reform, prestige, and federal-state partnerships.

Interview with Christopher M. Mullin, co-author of Community College Finance: A Guide for Institutional Leaders. This interview addresses tuition and financial aid, who and what can influence tuition rates, and state and local appropriations.

Interview with Phil Oliff, Research Manager, The Pew Charitable Trusts. This interview with Phil Oliff, whose career has been focused at the intersection of education policy and finance and tax and budget policy, addresses cyclical patterns of state and federal support, budget volatility, and the variation in federal and state funding across the U.S.

Interview with Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Insight Policy Research, and former director of the Young Adults and Postsecondary Program at MDRC. This interview with Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, whose research has focused on what drives student choices to attend higher education, explores completion issues, the importance of data, the significance of MDRC’s cumulative work, and financial incentives.

Interview with Larry Robinson, President, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Larry Robinson is a nuclear chemist who has also served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management.  This interview covers the difference between doing research at private facilities versus universities, external funding for research, and how research connects to the instructional mission of a university.

Interview with Martha Snyder, Director, HCM Strategists. This interview Martha Snyder, a national expert on outcomes-based funding and other finance policies to improve higher education attainment, covers federal funding issues, the shift in how states perceive their financial role or responsibility in postsecondary education, revenue drivers and incentives, and the importance of language in higher education finance.

Interview with Richard Staisloff and Donna Desrochers, RPK Group. This interview with Richard Staisloff and Donna Desrochers highlights why costs are rising in higher education, the financial dynamics of funding innovation, the importance of good leadership, and how auxiliary services are influencing institutional budgets.

Interview with Amy Supinger, a California-based higher education consultant. Amy Supinger is a former budget analyst for the California legislature. This interview highlights how postsecondary budget decisions can are often siloed, what states could do about that if they wanted to, and the importance of an active advocacy community in sustaining Cal Grants, the largest state financial aid program in the country.

Interview with Alex Usher, President, Higher Education Strategy Associates. Alex Usher is a Toronto-based, internationally recognized expert in higher education finance and quality measurement. This interview addresses incentives for enrollment, local versus out-of-area student enrollment, local governance versus central governance in higher education planning, and performance-based funding.



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