UO charges Kelly 0% interest, forgives fine and legal costs

8/26/2013: A correspondent notes that if UO faculty leave early (i.e. take a sabbatical and then don’t come back) we also have to repay a year’s salary. Link here. Of course we don’t get 3.5 years to do it, and we have to repay the cost of our benefits too. 

8/24/2013: Ken Goe has the story in the Oregonian:

When Kelly jumped to the Philadelphia Eagles last winter he was contractually obligated to pay a $3.5 million buyout to the school. 

But Kelly has until June of 2016 to pay up, and is being charged no interest. 

According to documents released by the school in response to a public records request by UO economics professor William Harbaugh, Kelly is paying $85,365.85 every month until the summer of 2016. 

A couple things jump out. The $3.5 million figure is hard to get your hands around. When it’s cut into 41 monthly, $85,000 chunks it becomes easier to understand just how staggeringly well the former UO coach was being paid. According to a survey published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the average salary for a full professor at the University of Oregon for the 2012-13 academic year was $110,900. [Actually Kelly was paid about $300K a month, his total buyout is about 1 year of salary.] 

Now, imagine how sweet it is for Kelly that he isn’t required to pay any interest during his three-and-half year payment schedule. 

The U.S. Department of Education parent loans I took out for my daughter’s four years at Oregon total less than one of Kelly’s monthly repayments. I pay a healthy interest rate. I’ll be paying it for a long time. …

Rates on loans to students average 5.6%. And if students cannot pay, UO or the lender turns the debts over to bill collectors. But UO Associate Athletic Director for finance Eric Roedl has made no effort at all to recover the $20K NCAA fine UO had to pay for Kelly’s infractions:

And of course not only did UO pay all the $200k+ legal costs of the Willie Lyles infractions, Randy Geller actually made the academic side pay most of them – another free-ride for the jocks. Speaking of which, I wonder how much of Kelly’s monthly $85K repayments go to the academic budget?

Student loan rates

6/3/2013: Like many profs, particularly those with kids, I got through grad school with federally subsidized student loans. Mine had a 1.25% interest rate, so I drew out the repayment as long as possible – 16 years, and paid it off 2 years ago. Those days are gone: rates are scheduled to increase to 6.8%. Obama has a plan to peg the rate to the gov’t cost of funds: T-bills plus 0.93% points.

Default rates are so high this still involves large subsidies. The data is clear that college, particularly 4-year college, pays off in dramatically higher wages and lower unemployment rates – but not if you drop out. We don’t pay much attention to the dropouts – they are gone. But they are going to end up trying to repay the money they borrowed, which went to our salaries, for a very long time.

UO enrollment management strategies

Faculty club update: Word down by the pool cabana is that there are another 700 international students – not counted in the official statistics on the grounds that they are not eligible to take regular UO classes until they pass sufficient AEI credits. We will get them soon though. Too bad Gottfredson won’t pay that 3.5%. Cowboy up, professor.

Updated 11/12/2012: Three different views on UO Enrollment trends. None give Chip Kelly much credit:

Dash Paulson in the ODE concentrates on the fact that the proportions of new students from California and other foreign countries have increased to the point that less than 50% of our new students are from Oregon. 50% has been a bright line for the state legislature:

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars and a respected writer for the Chronicle of Higher Education said in an email, “There is a lot of controversy about state universities diverting state resources to out-of-state students,” Wood wrote. “Clearly the strategy ‘pays’ for the university in terms of ready income, but it does so by treating the public’s investment in infrastructure as given. Lots of room in that for political recrimination.”

Diane Dietz has a long article in the RG on UO’s enrollment strategies, including an interview with Roger Thompson. Very interesting discussion of merit aid. One bit on the Pathways program former Provost Linda Brady started in ~2007 to cover all tuition for low income Oregon students:

“When PathwayOregon stared, every Pell kid was getting PathwayOregon (grant),” Thompson said. “That’s not the case now. Four hundred kids get PathwayOregon. We enroll almost 900 that are Pell-eligible.” …

The university plans to cover more of its Pell grant students with Pathway­Oregon; beginning in fall 2013, any UO student eligible for the federal grant will get the Pathway­Oregon boost, Thompson said.

Of course the move towards more out of state and international students will presumably cut the number of Pathways students.

The party line? Some anonymous PR flack has a post in the new UO blog Pravda.

No academically eligible Oregon students have been denied admission to the UO.

UO pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to churn out this stuff, but Dave Hubin won’t give a $172 fee waiver to a real reporter, Diane Dietz of the RG, for the EMU docs. He says the public interest doesn’t justify the cost.

UO introduces new academic scholarships

$3,000 to $5,000 off tuition, depending on HS GPA and SAT’s. I’m no economist, but I believe they call this price discrimination. Good in that it will get UO more top students with good substitutes for UO, hence more elastic demand. On the other hand these will tend to be wealthier students with less need for the discounts. The story also mentions the excellent Pathway Oregon program for low SES students, which tops off federal aid with state money and a very well run tutoring/mentoring program. Pathway Oregon, unfortunately, has not been fully funded for several years. No word on if it will be for 2013.

UO finances and student debt

9/25/2012: The RG’s Diane Dietz digs into the student debt situation, with a focus on UO. Some tidbits:

The prisons’ share is $1.36 billion in the current two-year budget, compared with the $691 million for the entire, seven-school Oregon University System. 

Not clear if that includes direct state aid to students, a common way of understating higher ed spending.

Eckstein, formerly the UO student body president, said it’s too easy for universities to turn to students and require them to make up the shortfall. “What is the university doing as an institution to shoulder the burden of some of the state funding cuts? There were no specific answers on how the university made an effort to reduce costs before turning to tuition increases,” he said.

Jock Box, Mac court payments, rigged overhead rates, UO Police, administrative bloat have all been problems, here PERS gets its share of the blame for costs:

Mike Bellotti, former UO football coach and athletic director, is the top PERS beneficiary, receiving $496,000 annually. Former UO President Dave Frohnmayer; Frank Anderson, a longtime UO mathematics professor; and Peter Von Hippel, a UO professor of biophysical chemistry and molecular biology for 36 years, rank among the state’s top 10 PERS beneficiaries, each receiving well over $200,000 a year. [Much of these payments are essentially paid by PERS out of current contributions from state agencies like UO.]

Faculty and administrators got raises, too:

Last year, Lariviere handed out $5 million in special raises to 1,100 faculty members and administrators. “It was an effort to close the gap between where we were and our comparator institutions. We are now at 88 percent of the average,” said Berdahl, who temporarily took over after the state fired Lariviere, in part, because the raises flew in the face of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s directive that state agencies curb personnel costs. Again, this July, the university spent $2.6 million in a 3.5 percent across-the-board salary increase for 900 administrators, mostly middle managers and professional staff.

This is a long article covering many contentious issues. It’s good to see the RG taking a skeptical look at UO’s decisions.

A modest proposal

7/14/2011: Charles Martinez’s OIED spent $903,587 last year – that’s just counting salaries and administrative overhead for his office, not program costs. Add another $100,000 to cover the cost of hiring a search firm to find a competent and honest replacement for him.

For comparison, in 2009-10 UO awarded $1,706,250 in need-based financial aid, and another $2,086,425 in need-based tuition waivers.

So we could dump the OIED administration (while keeping OMAS, the Longhouse, etc) and have enough money to increase UO’s support for low income students by 25%.

Where to target financial aid?

7/14/2011: To the most disadvantaged. Richard Kahlenberg of the Chronicle reports on a recent study by some economists:

… At the same time, those Pell students who were more disadvantaged (had lower ACT scores and parents lacking a college education) benefited a great deal from the supplemental grants. Their persistence rates after three years climbed dramatically, by 17 percentage points (or 31 percent), from 55 percent for the control group to 72 percent for the treatment group. These students, many of whom regularly send money home to their families, appear to have felt somewhat less pressure to work long hours for employers during college, and thus were able to spend more time studying for classes. (Win one for the liberals.)

Here at UO, most of it goes to the jocks.

University debit cards screw over students

9/4/2010: Brent Hunsberger of the Oregonian has a very interesting story about how “Higher One Inc.” partners with LCC, PSU and SOU to issue students debit cards linked to their university financial aid and tuition payments. And then nails the students with a complex myriad of well-hidden fees:

For one, Higher One charges an “abandoned account” fee of up to $19 a month. Students get this fee if they don’t use their account after nine months — a trigger point that seems to coincide with summer break.
They also pay $2.50 when they don’t use a Higher One ATM, located only on college campuses.
There’s even a link on each school’s card web site: “How to use the OneAccount for free.” Students must then click through three pages to read the fee schedule.
The most confusing fee? The cards are stamped “debit” on front. “THIS IS NOT A CREDIT CARD!” warns the website for Mt. Hood Community College’s “Mountain Card.”
Yet students who swipe the card as a “debit” and enter their personal identification number get charged a 50-cent fee each time. To avoid that fee, they must press “credit” and sign the receipt. 

Classic. Does anyone know how the UO system works?

Student retention

6/30/2010: At Xavier, from Insidehighered.com:

Two decades ago, Xavier University could only count on three of every four freshmen returning for sophomore year. Even fewer made it to graduation. Today, though, close to 9 of every 10 students who start freshman year at the Jesuit university in Cincinnati make it back the next fall. Seven in 10 will graduate in four years, and another one will likely graduate in the two years after that.

Investments like staffing the Office of Student Success and Retention with Schiess, an assistant director, an administrative assistant and two graduate assistants end up paying off, Stinson says. The university spends about $250,000 each year on the office and gives Schiess $400,000 in financial aid to distribute to struggling students, but all those expenditures still leave the university in the black. “An additional $1,000 we give to a student in the fall will return us an additional $14,000 in the spring,” Schiess says. “But before you decide whether to give the student that money, you have to know that person individually to see if it makes sense.” Financial issues are, by and large, the primary reason why students think about leaving Xavier, he says.

Green Power or Education?

3/29/2010: From Bill Graves in the Oregonian:

Oregon leaders expressed frustration and anger Friday after learning that thousands of college students will not get need-based state scholarships because grants awarded this year exceed the state budget by millions of dollars more than expected.

The Oregon Student Assistance Commission reported to the Legislature in February that it had committed $9.7 million above its $57 million budget this year to scholarships known as Oregon Opportunity Grants. This week it reported that overcommitment has swollen by $5 million to $9 million more.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski expressed his exasperation in a stern letter to the commission, which he appoints.

“The belated revelation of another over commitment of this magnitude is disturbing to me,” he wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday. “I am also concerned about its impact on the credibility of the program — with the Legislature, our educational institutions and the public.”

Last year Kulongoski vetoed a bill to cut back on his Green Energy, after it went $165 million over budget. Then of course there’s spending $250,000 on signs for the Pape Beltine. Odd priorities.