Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Cuts put colleges' summer in doubt
Schools may not offer any summer sessions or may reduce offerings.
By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
Published January 11, 2008
TAMPA -- Two summers ago, the University of South Florida and the 10 other state universities were enjoying record summer enrollments. Administrators pondered expanding future June and July offerings to ease crowding throughout the rest of the year.
But it takes money to operate a campus and host classes during the summer, and universities are about to lose millions more of it. Credit the worsening Florida economy.
So come this summer, some universities might not offer summer school at all. Those that do might cut back its scope significantly -- to the dismay of students who depend on those summer classes to graduate on time, and instructors who depend on the summer courses as part of their annual income.
"That's a major concern for us at this moment in time: whether we have the resources to support, at least in the scope of past summers, the classes students need to graduate," USF vice provost Ralph Wilcox said Thursday. "And if we can't provide summer school offerings in the same level we have in recent years, it's going to overload demand in the other two semesters. Or we end up with students taking longer than is appropriate to graduate.
"That creates a logjam effect, and that means new students can't come in. It's all very, very troubling."
More than 175,000 students enroll in summer classes at Florida public universities, and larger institutions like the University of Florida, USF and the University of Central Florida typically have summer populations of more than 27,000. It takes the average Florida college student 4.3 years to graduate, meaning four years plus one extra semester -- typically summer.
Leila Yau, a Gaither High School graduate in her second year at UF, took two summer courses already and planned to take one more this coming summer.
"I know a lot of my friends take summer classes to catch up, and that's what I'm doing," said Yau, 20. "Cutting classes would be a huge loss to students."
University leaders say they have little choice. They already lost $65-million from their collective budgets in the fall, when lawmakers held a special session to trim $1-billion from the state budget. In response, they froze future freshmen enrollment levels. Universities cut back library hours and increased fees. Professors or untenured instructors who left were never replaced. USF professors were asked to do more, taking on heavier class loads with more students.
More cuts coming, official says
It turns out that was just the beginning.
House Policy and Budget Council Chairman Ray Sansom warned members this week that the Legislature needs to cut at least $2-billion more in recurring dollars from the state's $70-billion budget. Already, the budget was reduced from $71-billion during the fall special session.
So universities are preparing for a second round of cuts before the end of this fiscal year, plus dramatic cuts for the 2008-09 year. They got rid of the fat; now they cut into the bone.
Big changes may be needed
That means dramatic changes like the loss of summer school. It means layoffs. It means university-related travel will be rare.
It means universities, which operate under the mission of providing access to students, will have to make difficult choices just to stay afloat.
"We're already stretched," Wilcox said. "Professors already are loading up on courses, students. And that already is having an impact on the quality of instruction and learning."
Wilcox is awaiting a report due next month from a committee of faculty members, students and staff members charged last semester with finding ways to cut $12-million in expenses for the Tampa campus.
"But what's becoming apparent is that may not even come close to the sorts of cuts that may need to be done," he said.
UF president Bernie Machen told a group of state business editors Wednesday that he anticipates he'll have to cut at least another $16-million before the budget year ends June 30, for a total this year of roughly $40-million. Machen is considering not just canceling summer classes but reducing freshman admissions.
"If you have to cut $16-million in the last two months of the year, the only thing left is summer," Machen said. "And we're not going to increase class sizes any more. We are not going to dilute our product. So we will cut back."
UF, the state's flagship research university, is the largest of the 11 universities with 51,000 students. It's also the toughest to get into, so a freshmen enrollment cut would make it even more difficult.
Cutting summer school would delay many students' graduation plans. Under state law, each must earn at least nine summer credits to receive a bachelor's degree.
The budget woes will likely affect instructors, too. Florida State University president T.K. Wetherell warned that FSU is looking at severe layoffs to deal with the looming cuts.
University leaders expressed frustration that the governor and lawmakers say they want to stimulate the economy, yet they are cutting state money to the universities that train Florida's future workers and leaders.
"If you want to stimulate the economy," said Wetherell, a former House speaker, "then stimulate the universities."
Staff writer Jeff Harrington contributed to this report. Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 226-3403.
What state universities have already lost
The state university system already lost $65.2-million for this budget year, thanks to emergency cuts made during the fall special session. Here's a breakdown: