Feature

Subcategory of CFO News

Shared presidents and more at the State University of New York

As part of an effort to try to reduce administrative costs and funnel the savings toward academics and student services, the system’s administration has been working to adopt a shared service model across its 64 campuses.

The State University of New York (SUNY) may have the most talked about shared services program in the nation. As part of an effort to try to reduce administrative costs and funnel the savings toward academics and student services, the system’s administration has been working to adopt a shared service model across its 64 campuses. That model has even included shared presidents.

Colleges narrowing retirement plan options

Regulations now make tax-exempt 403(b) retirement plans more like 401(k) plans

The prospect of employees with more money to invest, easier-to-understand investment options, more personalized customer service, and lower fees has colleges and universities rethinking their retirement plans and moving toward a single retirement services vendor.

Best practices for 403(b) plans in higher education

Fidelity suggests the following actions for higher education plan sponsors:
1. Target employee and employer contributions totaling 10 percent to 15 percent of an employee’s annual salary to increase retirement readiness.
2. Administer a combined benefits plan of contribution and employer match to increase total contributions, employee engagement, and potentially lower costs.
3. Use employer match to increase voluntary participation rates and employee contributions.

8 ways colleges can design technology-rich spaces

Points for planning technology-rich academic buildings

You have space on campus for a new building, and visions of a cutting-edge learning center dance in your head. The technology-infused building will be so magnetic that admission applications will pour in, professors will clamour for classroom assignments, and local businesses will plead for partnerships.

Of course, funding won’t be an issue because the new technology center will be so innovative and visionary that bonds and grants will stream across your desk like ducks in a pond.

Ready to begin?

Remodel or new construction?

Many colleges and universities are tempted to revamp buildings because there isn’t enough space to construct new, technology-rich facilities. But sometimes, the amount of renovation required can drive costs so high that it may be less expensive to build something new.

That was the situation at Gulf Coast State College (Fla). College president James Kerley explains that an early candidate for a new technology center was a building from the 1960s that was being used as a tech hub.

Is Fossil Fuel Divestment a Wise Move?

Making the case for and against stripping endowments of fossil fuel investments

Stop Feeding the Monster. End the Coal Age. Divest the West. Sandy Says: Divest Climate Destruction. Bound by Fossil Fuels, Freed by Action.

Messages like these have emblazoned banners on campuses across the country since 350.org’s Fossil Free divestment campaign began last November.

The Giving Cart

Creating a shopping cart experience for online donor transactions

The idea was simple: Let online donors make multiple gifts with a single checkout. Not long after Randy Brown joined the Michigan State University advancement team as webmaster in 1999, he got assigned this task, which was anything but simple to execute.

“That was sort of his night job,” says Bob Thomas, assistant vice president for advancement marketing and communications. “It was kind of a running joke. We’d talk about it at annual planning meetings.” One year, someone even presented a mini shopping cart at the meeting to Brown as a tangible reminder.

Making Banking Partnerships Work

Tips for getting the best deal—for a school and its students

Until a few years ago, a visitor to a college campus might have thought credit card vendors operated branch offices there, so pervasive was their marketing. For many students, getting their first credit card was a step toward adulthood. In the best of circumstances, students began lifelong associations with a particular bank or financial institution, and established their all-important credit history.

Let’s Make a Deal

Contract negotiations can be uncomfortable for procurement professionals used to a different kind of sourcing, but the right strategies and tools can turn them from awkward to artful negotiators.

If the phrase “everything is negotiable” makes you uneasy, you’re not alone. Even though negotiation is increasingly essential for campus procurement departments, the task is often approached with trepidation. This isn’t surprising, given the past experience of many procurement professionals, says Steve Mack, director of procurement services for the University of Missouri System.

Opportunity Knocks

Donor-advised funds offer universities a pot of gold

A particular anonymous couple, both Cornell University alumni, could be considered the proverbial advancement officer’s dream. They met in high school, attended college on scholarship, embarked on successful careers after graduation, and raised three children—all of whom attended their alma mater. Recently retired, they’ve now decided it is payback time.

They have joined other alumni, some fraternity and sorority groups, and a state grape growers association in choosing to channel their philanthropy through a donor-advised fund (DAF) account administered by Cornell.

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