Folbre blogs, “College Students, the New Cash Cows”

Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

In her most recent NY Times Economix blog, UMass Amherst professor Nancy Folbre analyzes the strategy of state universities to attract higher paying, out-of-state students.  According to Folbre, emphasizing recruitment rather than retention can backfire for several reasons and result in efforts that do little to increase the quality of education.

February 15, 2010
College Students, the New Cash Cows
By Nancy Folbre

Intensified marketing campaigns are aimed at out-of-state students, who typically pay higher tuition and fees. This well-meaning strategy can backfire for several reasons.

Administrators can feel pressure to invest in new facilities that look good on the glossy brochures — like a new recreation center — rather than improving student advising or course availability.

If many institutions ramp up their marketing and recruitment at the same time, their efforts can cancel one another out. They all spend more money but none of them gains a competitive edge.   In a period of economic downturn, fewer students can afford out-of-state tuition.

If more students are added without increasing the number of faculty and staff, students get less individual attention and can’t get into the courses they need to graduate. Some students thrive despite these problems; others get demoralized.


Folbre in BusinessWeek article: Budget cuts feel “apocalyptic”

Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst Economics Professor

Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst economics professor, was recently quoted in a BusinessWeek article about budget cuts to state universities.  Folbre is worried because officials in Massachusetts have been offsetting budget shortfalls with federal stimulus funding, money that will disappear next year, possibly leading to rounds of drastic cuts. (Business Week, 2/11/10)

“We’ve already been subject to very disruptive budget cuts before and then gradual recovery, but this one feels apocalyptic,” says Nancy Folbre, author of a new book “Saving State U” and an economics professor at University of Massachusetts. “I’m in a real panic about what will happen next year when the federal stimulus funds are not going to be there to break our fall.”

UMass Economics Wolff

Wolff outlines Greece’s role in the global capitalist crisis

Rick Wolff, UMass Amherst Economics Professor Emeritus

In an article for Monthly Review, UMass Amherst economics professor emeritus, Rick Wolff, outlines Greece’s role in the global capitalist crisis.  According to Wolff, although Greece’s role is minor in relation to the central causes of the crisis, Greece faced an economic downturn as a result of the crisis and, like so many other nations, borrowed a lot.  Now, lenders are requiring them to pay much higher interest rates on their current debt obligations and are also threatening to stop lending unless poorer countries, like Greece, lower the ratio between their debt and their GDP.

The Stakes in “Punishing” Greece
by Rick Wolff
February 11, 2010

The global capitalist crisis first brought an economic downturn to Greece, and now the “recovery” seeks to impose on the Greek people an indefinite period of economic suffering as global lenders provide funds to the richer, larger capitalist economies elsewhere so that they can avoid what is demanded of the Greeks.  The same leaders of business and government who produced the crisis are managing the “recovery” in just this way.