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Articles: Financial Services

There is an opportunity that many universities are unaware of that can provide immediate tax cash savings. If you have conducted renovations to your buildings in the past, you may be in a position to take advantage of recently released Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) regulations. The following provides a brief background of the opportunity, outlines the characteristics of entities that can benefit, and also provides a roadmap for how to take advantage of this benefit.

Brian Hazlett is vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, and Roger Bruszewski is vice president of finance and administration at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. To make a huge change at a university, it takes the entire village, a.k.a. a really good team, to make it happen. Here’s our story.

Millersville University of Pennsylvania has 7,500 undergraduates, 1,000 graduate students, seven unions representing faculty and staff, and a $152 million budget.

Steven R. DiSalvo is president of Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton’s recently announced $350 billion plan to offer free tuition for public colleges and universities has merit, but does not apply across the board and would require additional appropriations from Congress.

Clinton and all the 2016 presidential candidates should absolutely be focused on this issue, but from a wider perspective. We must look for alternatives to tuitions reaching as high as $250,000 and $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the U.S.

Consumer advocacy groups support new financial-aid payment rules that have raised concerns.

Colleges and universities using third-party providers to process students’ Title IV payments face changes aimed at giving students more choice in receiving financial aid dollars. A new federal proposal could especially affect institutions that issue tuition refunds directly to students’ debit cards.

If it’s finalized as is by Nov. 1, The Department of Education proposed rule on campus debit cards and Title IV payments will have a major impact on third-party service providers.

Some of the regulations in the rule include restrictions on fees and limitations on access to student information. It would also require schools to issue paper checks as an option, even if they’ve already gone paperless.

After putting off past maintenance projects when the economy stalled, leaders at many institutions are finding it difficult to fit them back into the budget.

Outside the circle of higher ed facilities managers, it’s the shiny new campus buildings that get all the glory. Yet what facilities insiders know all too well is that existing buildings are in dire need of attention.

Bill Berg is an enrollment management consultant at Scannell & Kurz, a RuffaloCODY company.

A family’s willingness to pay for a college education relies heavily on an institution’s ability to articulate return on investment. Discounting tuition through scholarships and other financial aid is the most common approach to increasing a college’s perceived value, as these strategies reduce the net cost to the family.

A biomass plant opened on Middlebury’s campus in 2009, marking a significant step toward the college’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2016.

Fossil fuel and private prison divestment may make the biggest headlines when it comes to how colleges invest endowment funds—but it’s not actually that common a practice. A growing number of colleges and universities now seek bigger impacts—and substantial financial returns—with a strategy known as “ESG.”

Salisbury University alum Carey Haddock, here in front of Manokin Hall, was once an RA herself. Now she’s the trainer and supervisor for RAs at the school.

Parents and students expect RAs to solve roommate problems and ensure dorms are conducive to study and sleep. But with an amplified national discourse on sexual assault, gun violence and mental illness, today’s resident assistants are on the front lines of a whole host of issues related to safety and overall wellness.

Today's RAs receive enhanced training on a range of issues, from sex assault to homesickness. (Click to enlarge)

Even if an incident doesn’t happen in a residence hall, RAs must know what to expect during a potential crisis on campus, and how to better help their students, says David L. Perry, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

Just as campus officials across the nation are engaged in active shooter response training because of tragedies like at Virginia Tech, RAs need to master the proper response procedures, including building lockdowns. They might be the only authority figures in the residence halls during a potential threat.

Officials at Antioch College, which was resurrected after being closed several years, expect to have 70 to 75 first-year students in fall 2015. Plans are beginning on a new dorm.

Your school has been rescued—now what? How do you restore students’ and parents’ faith in your revived institution? Institutions like Antioch and Sweet Briar are paving the way.

“Parents need a thorough understanding of the costs related to college and the options for paying college expenses. The need for timely, understandable information is especially acute in households with no previous experience with the going-to-college process. Colleges often assume parents already have knowledge about budgeting for college, the cost of student loans and effective repayment strategies, so they often don’t address these issues when they provide parents with information.”

—George Covino, vice president of consulting, USA Funds

When it comes to fundraising, most colleges and universities surveyed (59 percent) boost their effort through social media.

Also popular are social media-based days of giving and crowdfunding events. Of the 42 percent that held a day of giving, more than one-third raised over $50,000 that day. And of the 15 percent that crowdfunded, half earned more than $10,000 per year.

Faculty and students at Bridgewater College in Virginia complained increasingly in recent years about the unavailability of textbooks at the campus bookstore. To control inventory, the store stocked only a percentage of materials required if everyone purchased what was expected.

Campus business officers also noted a rapid decline in textbook revenue and related commissions, as students pursued lower-cost alternatives to purchasing books from the store.

Starbucks made headlines last spring as more than just a campus hot spot when it announced a free college tuition plan for its employees. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and health insurance company Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have now followed suit, and Starbucks has expanded its program.

While each corporation is partnering with a specific higher ed institution, the plans and stipulations vary:

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