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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.