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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.

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:

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.

As colleges come out of the recession, many are now expected to make up for years of stagnant salaries

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.”

New financial literacy programs aim to reduce student default rate. (Getty Graphics via Getty Images)

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.

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.

College-age students have grown up with mobile phones, and they’re used to having them work when and where they want. With a 342-acre campus that has more than 11,000 students and more than 430 buildings; making mobile phones work everywhere is a tall order for Yale University.