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Articles: Financial Services

Student success and controlling costs are the top priorities for higher ed leaders in2 015. (Click to enlarge graphic)

Experts in higher education administration and management predict that 2015 will bring intense and sometimes surprising governance, financial and legal challenges to the sea of potential worries for university leaders. A few critical issues that will bubble to the surface involve financial health, academic performance, student wellness and continuity in leadership.

There are few economic challenges that move the dial in America quite like the skyrocketing costs of higher ed. From early morning pundits to late night talk shows the student and family debt burden issue is clear and ever present.

In the view of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren - "Rising student-loan debt is an economic emergency…Forty million people are dealing with $1.2 trillion in outstanding student debt. It's stopping young people from buying homes, from buying cars and from starting small businesses. We need to take action."

Former Yale professor William Deresiewicz has caused some controversy with his latest book, "Excellent Sheep."

In 2008, former Yale professor William Deresiewicz's scathing essay on elite colleges and universities went viral, gaining more than 100,000 views in a matter of weeks. His book Excellent Sheep: Thinking for Yourself, Inventing Your Life, and Other Things the Ivy League Won’t Teach You continues the theme.

Paying students to explore entrepreneurial ideas: Hope College in Michigan pays students $10 an hour for up to 10 hours a week when they enroll in entrepreneurial programs offered by its Center for Faithful Leadership (CFL).

Capital fundraising retains a top slot among institutional fundraising priorities due to renovation and construction imperatives, new program requirements and the need to update technology. In addition to broader capital campaigns and a razor-sharp focus on major donors, more institutions are seeking support from the business sector.

Advance planning: Dedicated alumni and friends of Hendrix College can purchase a niche in a campus columbarium.

From cashing in on beer sales at football games to providing community members with a safe way to trash old electronics for a fee, administrators are looking beyond tuition and endowments to make up for budget shortfalls.

Resource constraints and other challenges are preventing some historically black colleges and universities from internationalizing their campuses as extensively as other institutions of higher education.

That’s a major finding of the Creating Global Citizens initiative, which for three years studied seven HBCUs that worked with the American Council on Education’s Inclusive Excellence Group and the Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement.

The world of intellectual property is not the easy goldmine it may appear to be from the outside. There is a business behind selling scholarly works, whether they fall into the patent or copyright realms of IP--both forms are citizens of the university world, though with completely different issues and revenue streams.

While trademark would not generally be considered scholarly material that is serving the public good, the $4.6 billion a year it generates for institutions does help them remain more healthy and visible.

That total makes it the second largest category of licensed merchandise in the country, behind only Major League Baseball, says Andrew Giangola, vice president of Strategic Communications at Collegiate Licensing Company, a sports marketing company that represents nearly 200 colleges and universities.

Sixteen states have joined the "15 to Finish” campaign to encourage students to take full course loads each semester.

West Virginia is the latest state to encourage college students to take 15 credits or more every semester so they can graduate on time.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Complete College America, the “15 to Finish” campaign is already in 15 other states, most notably Hawaii, which first developed the program. In its first year, 2011-12, the state was able to increase the number of students taking 15 hours per semester by more than 17 percent.

Sociology professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa say find many recent college graduates are ill-prepared to land decent jobs.

When Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa published Academically Adrift in 2011, it exposed the shortcomings of undergraduate learning.

Student success and retention, along with recruitment and enrollment, lead the way among the many areas that will see a fresh commitment of funding and other resources over the next 18 months.

Colleges and universities of all types and sizes are planning new investments in virtually all areas of operations as economic recovery entrenches itself in higher education, according to a University Business survey of campus leaders.

Three separate surveys suggest that students and parents give strong consideration to advertised price. (Click to enlarge)

Have net price calculators, merit scholarships and tuition discounts rendered sticker price meaningless? Not according to numerous surveys on the topic.

The findings of three separate surveys over the past two years on the topic of cost and decision to apply suggest that students and parents give strong consideration to advertised price. A 2012 studentPOLL survey, a joint venture between the College Board and Art & Science Group, reported that more than one-half of families ruled out colleges based on sticker price alone.

The number of students identifying as belonging to a community of color has doubled since Frankin & Marshall College has invested more in need-based aid and phased out merit scholarships.

Financial aid is in a state of flux, but an institution’s size and selectivity offer clues to what kind of student assistance gets prioritized.

Some public flagships and less-selective private schools are using increased merit aid to lure higher achievers from more prestigious private schools, while some highly selective colleges and universities are phasing out merit aid as they give more need-based assistance to bring lower-income students to campus.

Colleges and universities are ramping up services for international freshmen and sophomores as administrators increasingly look abroad to further diversify their campuses and to expand enrollment with students who pay full tuition.