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Articles: Financial Services

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:

The Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, also known as DKE, sued Wesleyan University after  its members were told they wouldn’t be allowed to live in their house next school year.

A push for coed fraternities has spawned a lawsuit at Wesleyan University, while a directive from the administration at Trinity College, also in Connecticut, has so far failed to further integrate Greek organizations.

Delta Kappa Epsilon, or DKE, sued Wesleyan in February after the fraternity’s members were informed they would not be able to live in their house in the 2015-16 school year. The fraternity is seeking an injunction against that decision.

When a school hears from the FBI, the news is not likely to be good. Two years ago, FBI agents informed Maricopa County Community College District administrators that data from the 10-college system in Arizona had been posted on the internet. With a possible data breach underway, the system’s website was shut down immediately and school officials began to investigate.

The growing view of higher education as a global commodity has driven many ambitious institutions to deepen their international presence by setting up shop overseas.

While still far from common practice, international branch campuses have risen from a worldwide total of 15 in 1995 to 231 in 2015, according to the Cross-Border Education Research Team (CBERT) at the State University of New York at Albany. Leading the charge are U.S. institutions, with 83 campuses abroad.

While it can be risky for people with physical disabilities to navigate between facilities outdoors, tunnels on campuses such as Wright State U allow for smooth building-to-building movement.

Rumors about the nearly two miles of tunnels that lie beneath Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, often revolve around its location near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Some people have suspected the tunnels were designed as an Air Force/Wright State bomb shelter—or even that top-secret military experiments have been conducted in laboratories there.

Seniors line up by Sweet Briar’s library prior to commencement. (Photo: Photo by Andrew Locascio/Sweet Briar College)

While higher ed leaders acknowledge a range of challenges, many say the shutting down of the 532-student Virginia women’s college does not signal doom for small institutions, including those that are single-sex, rural or religiously affiliated.

Colleges and universities are implementing a wide variety of travel-expense strategies to protect their resources and reputation

The uncovering of outrageous abuses of travel policies, along with tight budgets and public skepticism of tuition increases, are leading to scrutiny of every penny spent on travel. Long gone are the chauffeured limousines, $1,200-a-night hotel rooms and other lavish expenses of traveling administrators at some institutions that have grabbed news headlines.

Roughly six years ago, David Lewis served on a team that was designing policies for a new college in the Middle East. As president of OperationsInc., a national HR consulting and outsourcing firm, he met with seven top U.S. higher ed institutions to review their policies, including travel.

To Lewis, travel has now become “a game”—with institutional officials figuring out ways to prevent employees from manipulating policies.

To help convert rogue employees into team players, he offers the following tips:

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