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Higher One

Rising student debt and lack of financial literacy among college students are issues of growing concern to higher ed leaders, particularly those focused on non-academic drivers of student success.

As technology advances and students remain on the cutting edge, colleges and universities have no choice but to keep up. That means ensuring that students can access the information they need, whenever they need it, from whatever device they choose. This creates an array of challenges for institutions, from increased volume of help desk calls, to providing a consistent user experience across devices and operating systems, to controlling access to sensitive information.

George Covino

A report by the Association of Community College Trustees and The Institute for College Access & Success suggests practical steps that all postsecondary institutions – not just community colleges – can take to benefit their student loan borrowers.

You’ve been Higher One’s CEO for six months. How would you describe the company you now lead?

Butler University is a private college with 32 campus buildings occupying approximately 290 acres in Indianapolis, Indiana, with just over 4,700 undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled. Founded in 1855, Butler University focuses on providing students and faculty members with a distinguished, academic campus environment.

For the leadership of California State University, Northridge (CSUN), providing a wide variety of dining options has always been an important part of serving the campus community, which is located in the San Fernando Valley. With 38,000 students and more than 4,000 faculty and staff, the sheer size of the university could create a big enough challenge by itself, but the demographics of the community make selecting campus restaurants even more daunting.

Tennessee Technological University is known for being cutting-edge when it comes to STEM subjects. Many of its 11,349 students major in highly technical subjects such as engineering. Until 2006, however, how the institution’s finance department managed payments was not cutting-edge. “We had been cutting a lot of paper checks and wasting a lot of time in processing,” says Matt Smith, associate bursar.

With over 15,000 regular students and a campus that spans 96 acres, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary produces a significant amount of waste. “In late 2008, as part of a campus expansion project, we sought a more sustainable approach to our daily operations management practices,” says John Millington, manager of facilities operations and campus expansion projects. “We knew to meet the goals of that plan, we needed a new partner that would focus on waste diversion and sustainability.”

With over 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest university in the greater Chicago area. Its urban setting just west of the Loop means it is an important part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the city. With such a campus, the institution’s leaders knew that students, staff and visitors would need a singular place to access directional and other information.

The IT team at Auburn University in Alabama purchases a large amount of computers and related technology to serve the 25,000 students and numerous faculty and staff that use the institution’s facilities and infrastructure. This is an expensive undertaking, especially considering it wasn’t until 2009 that Alabama law permitted the use of cooperatives for purchasing.

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