Feature

Subcategory of CFO News

How campuses are streamlining payment planning

Accurate accounting and reporting of payments made across campus are essential—but not always easy tasks

From the sale of tickets to athletic or performing arts events, to housing and parking fees and fines, as well as merchandise sales and event sponsorships, there are myriad alternative sources of revenue coming in to various departments on a given campus throughout the year.

Revenue accounting: Autonomy with controls

When it comes to nontuition payments, college and university officials want the best of both worlds, says Daryl Robinson, director of higher education product development and strategy for Nelnet Business Solutions.

On the one hand, they’re expressing the need to centralize the accounting of revenue generated by departments across campus. On the other hand, there’s the realization this effort is often best handled by those individual departments.

A campus policy for revenue-producing activity

Armstrong Atlantic State University set news policies

At Armstrong Atlantic State University, the business and finance department created a policy in 2011 that covers how to establish any revenue-producing activity.

Such activity is defined as that which generates revenue from the sale of products or services provided by the university or university employees.

Prior to establishing an account for this activity, a department must take the following steps:

Getting centered: Payment processing controls

University of Alabama centralizes oversight in the student receivables office

Upon deciding that a more uniform approach was required when it came to the nontuition revenue being generated by departments across campus, The University of Alabama officials established policies designed to regain control of what had been, up to that point, highly decentralized.

Segmented into three areas—revenue-generating operations, credit card operations, and eCommerce ventures—the policies centralized the oversight and handling of funds within the student receivables office.

Starting over with a new compensation plan

A new system that doesn’t position employees within salary structure appropriately can lead to unmet expectations

Any institution building a new compensation system must have adequate resources—including staff— to complete the project within a reasonable time frame, says Lynne Hammond, assistant vice president, human resources at Auburn University in Alabama.

A new system that doesn’t position employees within the salary structure appropriately can lead to unmet expectations that translate into disgruntled employees.

7 keys to managing campus compensation

Common sense solutions to equitable pay scales and compensation packages

When the topic of higher ed salaries draws public attention, more often than not the focus is on presidents or football coaches. But behind the scenes, the real challenge for college and university leaders lies in crafting compensation practices to recruit and reward the talented faculty and staff who make up the heart of every institution.

As colleges come out of the recession, many are now expected to make up for years of stagnant salaries. Administrators also face the competition for top faculty talent, the push for greater salary equity, and other pressures.

Who has a stake in student debt?

Parents are important stakeholders in improving the financial literacy of college students

The interest in financial literacy has expanded beyond the financial office, which is where Lyssa Thaden, financial education content manager at American Student Assistance, used to focus her pitches.

“Now, at a stakeholder meeting, I’ll have someone from the financial aid office but also someone from admissions and enrollment management,” says Thaden, who consults with school sponsors of SALT, ASA’s financial literacy program. “The marketing folks show up, the residence life people show up, and even alumni.”

How financial literacy programs control student debt

Best way to wrangle runaway loan debt is making students masters of basic money management

A spooky cloud of crimson smoke dramatizes the dread of overwhelming student debt in “The Red,” a short movie thriller created for SALT, the American Student Assistance financial literacy program for students and alumni.

Less dramatic but noteworthy still, college students logging onto the National Endowment for Financial Education’s CashCourse can take a “Financial Realities” quiz to test their knowledge. In the opening question, they’re asked what will have the worst impact on their finances: gourmet coffee drinks, borrowing money, or spending without a plan.

Financial literacy: Mandatory or voluntary?

Financial literacy should be an automatic part of the financial aid process or academic curriculum, expert says

“If you build it, they probably won’t come.” That’s Sara Wilson’s take on the launch of the typical campus financial literacy program. As financial literacy project manager at USA Funds, she knows firsthand how many students participate and what they think later as they look back.

While numerous post-graduation surveys by the company show students regret not learning more about personal finance while they were in school, they also tend not to access financial literacy information when it’s offered on a completely voluntary basis, Wilson says.

Gaining traction for your financial literacy program

Institutions are beginning to respond to the need for financial literacy programs, despite the fact that financial literacy doesn't fall under any one college department’s responsibility.

Today’s students are facing higher costs, greater debt and continually changing financial aid policies, yet many don’t have a clear understanding of how their financial decisions can impact their education and their future. Institutions are beginning to respond to the need for financial literacy programs, but face a major hurdle gaining traction and commitment on campus, stemming from the fact that financial literacy does not naturally fall under any one college department’s responsibility. Instead it has many touch points of concern during a student’s college experience.

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