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Articles: Revenues

Talent, technologies and capital converge at TechTown Detroit, an incubator formed by Wayne State University in partnership with General Motors and the Henry Ford Health System. Since 2004 TechTown has been housed in a 1920s-era building contributed by GM.

It takes more than good intentions and extra space to be successful in starting an incubator.

Here are three tips to to help campus departments of economic development go from idea to execution:

Elizabeth Riddle is the director of OnCampus Research, a division of The National Association of College Stores.

Conventional wisdom tells us students aren’t buying course materials because they are too expensive. They are forced to drop or not take classes or go without needed materials. But research tells a different story.

Revenue alone doesn’t drive every real estate initiative. Higher ed institutions involved in development, typically off-campus, also consider the economic revitalization of a blighted surrounding neighborhood and initiatives that support the core mission.

Administrators, faculty members and campus staff have been ordering all sorts of supplies from Amazon.com for years, but it was only recently that the e-tailing colossus jumped formally into the higher ed and business-to-business procurement market. And some in the procurement world see benefits ahead.

The new higher education alliances cropping up are not just of the regional variety.

A group of private colleges and universities created a consortium in fall 2015 to negotiate better deals on enterprise resource planning systems, which can account for up to 4 percent of an institution’s entire annual budget. The Higher Education Systems and Services Consortium (HESS) now has 65 members located in 15 states.

Jon McGee, vice president for planning and public affairs at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, says many colleges and universities are too focused on the present to prepare for the changes ahead.

In his book, Breakpoint: The Changing Marketplace for Higher Education, Jon McGee says higher education is in the midst of an extraordinary transitional period that has significant implications for how colleges understand their mission, their market and their management.

Stanford’s solar solution: Joe Stagner, executive director of sustainability and energy management at Stanford, has led the university through a solar power-based strategy. By 2030, 75 percent of the university buildings will be powered by solar.

How colleges are getting creative about energy supply to save money on heating and cooling, and to boost building comfort for occupants

There is a lot of money to be had, but only a select group of elite athletic programs are reaping high financial rewards. Smaller institutions with less competitive athletics programs are left to scramble for what they can get—mere pennies in comparison.

Fans pack the University of Kentucky arena for every basketball game, keeping ticket revenues high. (Photo: UK Athletics)

As one would expect, successful athletic programs benefit their college or university in a number of ways—particularly in the admissions arena. They raise public awareness of the school, reaching prospective students who may not otherwise have heard of or looked at the university, says Scott Verzyl, associate vice president for enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions for the University of South Carolina.

Officials at the University of Missouri in 2012 looked at the business troubles of its academic press and decided the most prudent path forward was to shut it down. The community disagreed, lobbying against the closure, and the university recanted.

The whole affair emphasizes that academic publishing is not about dollars, but about the proliferation of scholarly and research-based writing, says David Rosenbaum, director of Mizzou’s press.

Yale will analyze the cost of carbon at its Peabody Museum of Natural History and 19 other campus buildings to help guide other institutions. (Photo: Patrick Lynch/Yale)

Energy conservation at Yale now goes beyond lower utility bills. The institution broke new ground in higher ed recently with a pilot program to calculate the wider cost of carbon use at 20 of its New Haven, Connecticut, buildings, including the well-known Peabody Museum and the president’s office.

The point of pollution is just one cost, says Ryan Laemel, Yale’s project coordinator. “We pay downstream in the form of added healthcare costs and rising food prices due to declining agricultural productivity, for example.”

Michael R. Nelson, a professor of internet studies at Georgetown University and former White House staffer, will deliver at keynote speech at UBTech 2016 in Las Vegas.

Michael R. Nelson, a professor of internet studies at Georgetown University, says innovation is about much more than just a good idea. It requires finding new ways to combine existing ideas, products and services into something that people will want. At the heart of that process is collaboration.

Most colleges and universities will continue to face financial hurdles, and although there is much crossover, certain issues will be more or less of a concern based on the size of the university and its student population. One thing is true across the board: Student expectations are changing.

Given the amount of innovation transpiring daily on the American college campus, it’s not surprising that higher ed institutions have become destinations for the broader community. Outside groups host conferences, retreats, weddings and other social events at campus facilities, while travelers can sometimes find a room for the night.

Nayef H. Samhat, president of Wofford College, believes cost of attendance would limit athletics program options for students at schools like his. The Wofford’s men’s basketball team emerged from the 2014-15 season as Southern Conference regular season champions and Southern Conference Tournament champions.

Several prominent Division I conferences (including the American Athletic Conference and Conference USA) have expressed support for cost of attendance, and Division I schools such as the University of Virginia and The University of Alabama now provide it; but not all member schools are on board.

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