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Articles: Revenues

In 1969, three-quarters of faculty at U.S. colleges and universities were tenured or tenure-track. That number dropped to just above one-quarter in 2013. (Click to enlarge)

Colleges and universities have made spending on administrators and part-time instructors a higher priority than raising salaries of core faculty members who have the biggest impact on learning, says a new report from the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education.

Earlier this year, former College of DuPage President Robert Breuder almost won himself a $763,000 golden parachute to leave the institution in March 2016, three years before his contract expired; that contract has since been voided by the college’s board, and the package reduced to $495,000.

In an apparent response, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed two new laws limiting terms for community college presidents and restricting their severance packages.

Steven H. Kaplan is president of the University of New Haven in Connecticut.

For centuries, colleges and universities have been exempt from paying property taxes, and there’s no good reason to change. But that’s not stopping people from trying.

From Connecticut to California, critics are questioning property tax exemptions while arguing that colleges are getting a free ride on the backs of taxpayers.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Finance professor Jeffrey R. Brown's new book is "How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education," with co-editor Caroline M. Hoxby, a Stanford economics professor

In How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education, Jeffrey R. Brown, a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and co-editor Caroline M. Hoxby, a Stanford economics professor, examine universities as complex economic organizations that operate in an intricate institutional and financial environment.

New football teams continue to take the field at colleges and universities each fall, overcoming criticism—from within higher ed and from outside—that sports programs not only suck up money desperately needed by academic departments but also drive up tuition and student fees.

The latest NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments shows college increasing spending from their endowments. (Click to enlarge)

U.S. colleges and universities last year paid for operations with bigger chunks of their endowments to compensate for declines in key sources of revenue, particularly tuition and public funding.

The good news is that the average rate of return rose for the second straight year, from 11.7 percent in FY2013 to 15.5 percent in 2014, according to the “NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments,” released in January.

Based in part on geographic proximity and mission complementarity, higher education institutions cater to the fast changing skills development needs of the gaming industry. This is especially true in Las Vegas where UNLV supports the International Gaming Institute which features its prestigious Executive Development Program. UNLV provides knowledge on most aspects of casino management and with courses geared toward executive levels—future leaders of the next iteration of casinos and resorts are trained.

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.

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.

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