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Articles: Financial Services

Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University, will deliver a keynote at the UBThrive conference in June.

People often go to college for the wrong reasons, with assumptions about how it’s going to benefit them, says Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University. An outspoken proponent of access and affordability, Farish—who will speak at the new UBThrive program this June—says colleges and students need to be more realistic about what to expect.

College ranking systems are typically viewed as unreliable metrics, often accused of practicing favoritism based on questionable criteria that varies by publisher.

In an attempt to provide an unbiased and informed resource for prospective students and their families, the Obama administration has formulated its own version of a college ranking system.

Payment solution providers were asked: What is the biggest vulnerability you see when it comes to PCI compliance at colleges and universities?

President Barack Obama is not acting like someone whose party suffered heavy defeats in the recent midterm election. Last month he previewed America’s College Promise, an ambitious plan that could help his earlier goal of increasing the number of college graduates to become a reality.

“Put simply, I’d like to see the first two years of community college be free for everyone who is willing to work for it,” Obama said in making the announcement. “It is something we can accomplish and it’s something that will train our workforce so we can compete with anyone in the word.”

Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University, predicts nonprofit private colleges will continue to increase both tuition and discount rates in 2015. Farish will deliver a keynote at the UBThrive conference in June.

Presidents and other thought leaders look ahead on cost, technology, learning and the other big issues in higher education.

In 2013, nearly seven in 10 borrowers owed less than $25,000 in college debt, according to the College Board. (Click to enlarge)

Might the cliche of the forever-indebted college student someday become a fable?

According to a new College Board report, total college student debt for 2013-14 is down by $8.7 billion from the previous school year, with students having borrowed $106 billion. This is the third consecutive year American student borrowing has decreased.

Many institutions expect to make significant investments in academic technology, Wi-Fi connections and network security in 2015.

Of the higher ed leaders who responded to a UB survey, nearly half expect overall tech spending to increase at their schools, while another 40 percent said it will stay the same. Perhaps surprisingly, a full 11 percent expect tech spending to decrease.

A majority of higher ed leaders expect modest to significant increases in tuition revenue in 2015. (Click to enlarge chart)

Multiple forces are pushing institutions to change from the financial status quo. Institutions are feeling more pressure to advocate for state higher ed funding, prove their value to students and support the simplification of debt repayment. Yet some campus leaders might just be fine with the opportunities that scrutiny can bring, and in many cases, administrators are meeting those challenges.

Need donation spending advice? Turn to the students, as Oklahoma Christian University did.

In November, President John deSteiguer announced that students could vote to allocate a recent $275,000 gift to one of six projects in the university’s Thrive campaign.

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.

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