No, I haven’t forgotten about Temple Japan. Its numbers look to be going down—even before the tsunami. @tujweb @senbobcasey @sentoomey

Here you have the most recent numbers, which were November 2010, for Temple University Japan:

Let’s compare this to three years ago (November 2008):

As you can see, the numbers are down. This was before the March 11 disasters, so who knows how many are there right now? The school is keeping those numbers close to the vest–the same as the rent figure for Azabu and Mita Halls in Tokyo.

The figures reported in each sheet are the high numbers for each prior trimester, because students come and go. So what is for certain is that we won’t know what effect March 11 had on the Japan campus until maybe 2012 or 2013.

The only solid stat available is that the number of stateside Temple undergrads looking to study in Japan dropped from 69 to 33 for the current Fall semester. If we look at the last reported enrollment of 1,232, it is far from unlikely to conclude that, even if TUJ is keeping its Japanese students, it has lost maybe 25% of overseas students. This would put total enrollment at something around 1,000—versus nearly 1,300 in late 2008.

As a Pennsylvania resident and voter, I would love to know what the true numbers are. I know that the 3,300 figure bandied about includes all the people who show up for even one presentation sponsored by Temple Japan. So if you go and hear a talk sponsored by Temple, you are added to the 3,300 number–even though you are not really “studying” in any way at Temple.

Why this is significant to us here in Pennsylvania is because it’s fairly clear that the rent for the Tokyo facilities is not being carried in the tuition. Rather, it is paid out of Philadelphia. Since Temple still receives a large subsidy from the state treasury, this means that some of Pennsylvania taxpayer money goes to subsidize this education project in Tokyo. For over two years, Temple Controller’s has been silent about what this subsidy would be. My estimate is that it’s $2 million a year, which means Temple has dumped tens of millions into the Tokyo real estate market over the past 30 years.

If the number of students coming out of Pennsylvania, and the number of faculty employed who are actual residents of Pennsylvania back home, is very small, then why is Pennsylvania being forced to subsidize this foreign or “international” boondoggle? Especially when we are telling the young college students here that they have to come up with an extra 10% for tuition going forward?

Someone passed information to me, a couple months back, about Department of Defense Education Activity/language initiatives. Apparently, Temple has some involvement in this federal program, and some noises are being made that if Temple Japan had to curtail its activities, this would somehow upset things. However, the U.S. Department of Defense has its own language academy. It’s not clear how Temple’s duplicating the effort is really adding any value to whatever it is that Temple Japan really does.

(And what do they do, other than give non-Pennsylvanians academic jobs in Tokyo, that we subsidize?)

If Temple has begun to hit up the federal government for money, we should know exactly what this assistance is, and where it is being given.

You would think that, with the Penn State child molestation scandal going strong, the government would really crack down on these “Commonwealth-related” institutions of higher education. That means, they must start to become much more transparent and much more accountable. By having hybrid status, they get to be walled off, private entities when the administrations feel like it; and then publicly subsidized “members of the Pennsylvania community” in the Spring when the state tax dollars are been appropriated out. It’s the best of both worlds for the faculty and staff of these schools (and their friends and families, who inevitably get hired in.) But it’s the worst of worlds for the rest of us.

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2 comments

  1. JoyfulA · November 26, 2011

    I saw an ad the other day for Temple Singapore!

    • hoofin · November 26, 2011

      You’re right, Joy, there is! But it is a collaboration with a for-profit school, so chances are Temple is just piggybacking in Singapore like most schools do when they want a foreign offering. What differentiates Temple Japan campus is that the school went all-out and set up there, but it hides its rent expense as a capitalized lease. (This means you do not see a rent expense, but rather, the net lease balance is buried somewhere in the balance sheet.)

      I asked the Controller two years ago to please explain where the rent was in the expenses, but the school never got back to me except to say that “TUJ pays for itself”. This is so, even though other figures showed a $4 million deficit dug around 1996, that never went away . . .

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