In recent years as a result of severe economic conditions, a number of colleges and universities and state and local governments have significantly altered the manner in which their employee retirement programs are structured and funded. Changes have included moving from defined benefit to defined contribution programs and increasing employee or employer contributions. Benefits have been reduced or retiree contributions to these programs have been increased. In some states and institutions employee retirement programs have been chronically underfunded and this underfunding has resulted in significant future financial liabilities. A primary objective of the Center for the Study of Higher Education's Pension Reform in Public Higher Education Project was to identify and document major changes to retirement and postretirement benefit programs at colleges and universities. Included in this review were: the manner in which programs are funded; the types of programs and benefits offered (such as defined benefit or defined contribution programs); and whether health benefits are an employer and/or employee funded component of retirement programs. The project also examined how various programs are governed and administered.
James A. Hyatt is the Associate Director of the Center For Studies in Higher Education. In the past he has been a Senior Research Associate and Principal Investigator at the Center for Studies in Higher Education. He has extensive experience both as a senior level executive at a number of the nation’s major research universities, including UC Berkeley, the University of Maryland, College Park and Virginia Tech, and as a principal investigator on externally funded research projects in the areas of higher education financial management, financial reporting and campus safety and security. From 2008-2010,Hyatt served as the President of the World Institute for Disaster Recovery Management. He is a recipient of the Berkeley Citation for distinguished achievement and service to UC Berkeley and is Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance and CFO Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He is included in Who’s Who in the West (27th Edition).