The higher ed bubble grows at another school. Nick Anderson of the Washington Post reports.

George Washington University plans budget cuts

George Washington University, the largest higher education institution in the nation’s capital, plans to cut spending 5 percent in the coming year to help offset declining enrollment in graduate and professional programs.

GWU President Steven Knapp announced last month plans for an across-the-the board cut in all administrative units. “Managers of those units will be making some hard decisions, which in some cases may involve the elimination of staff positions,” Knapp wrote in a message to the university community. “But we will not be cutting undergraduate student aid, abandoning our fixed tuition policy or backing away from our commitment to expand student health and career services.”

More than half of GWU’s 25,000 students are graduate students. That means GWU relies significantly on revenue from graduate and professional programs to fund its operations. At many schools, such programs tend to grow during recessions as the unemployed and underemployed seek new credentials to improve their job prospects. When the economy rebounds, demand for graduate education softens. Knapp told The Washington Post last week that GWU faces this issue.

Exactly how the budget cuts will unfold remains to be seen. Debate has arisen on campus about music department cuts, an issue covered extensively by the GW Hatchet student newspaper. Ben Vinson III, dean of arts and sciences at GWU, said in a statement that the university remains “committed to the visual and performing arts” but that it will begin charging fees in certain cases for private music lessons, recitals and ensemble participation. His statement also indicated that full-time faculty would be teaching more lower-level music courses. That would affect how much the university uses adjunct faculty.