Still, some argue that if there's a time to enact changes in salaries, institutional costs, and other budgetary weights pressuring universities, it's now. Kirwan says the environment for reform is perfect.
"I do think the fiscal circumstances that our nation and our states find themselves in will provide momentum for this change," Kirwan says. 'The difficult times that our universities are experiencing won't go away in the short run."
The problem, according to participants in the study, is that no solution seems readily apparent, and there's also no timetable for finding one.
"Everyone wants the solution to be right at hand," Turner says. "The Knight Commission is fairly comfortable with being in position to provide a great deal of background data, give some visibility to an issue . . . and see how it works out."