Feature

Subcategory of CFO News

Donor-Advised Funds Deepen the Donor Pool, Create Opportunities for University Fundraisers

Americans are increasingly choosing donor-advised funds (DAFs) as their preferred charitable giving vehicle. They have become the fastest growing vehicle in philanthropy, outnumbering private foundations by more than two-to-one. In 2010 (the most recent available data), grantmaking from DAFs totaled more than $6.1 billion.

Three Dangerous Student Aid Myths (and what higher education leaders can do to debunk them)

Unless you live in a cave, you’ve seen the alarming headlines highlighting “exploding” college costs and “crushing” student loan debt. Because the media is trying to grab readers’ attention, these articles often use the most startling cases of these serious problems without providing context needed to fully understand the complexity of these issues. A simple internet search reveals the prevalence of these types of articles.

Here are just a few recent headlines:

Three Dangerous Student Aid Myths (and what higher education leaders can do to debunk them)

Unless you live in a cave, you’ve seen the alarming headlines highlighting “exploding” college costs and “crushing” student loan debt. Because the media is trying to grab readers’ attention, these articles often use the most startling cases of these serious problems without providing context needed to fully understand the complexity of these issues. A simple internet search reveals the prevalence of these types of articles.

Here are just a few recent headlines:

Reaching Higher

Success in campaign completion with today’s ambitious fundraising goals

A couple of years into the initial, silent phase of Loyola Marymount University’s fundraising campaign, Dennis Slon stepped into his role as senior vice president for university relations and the chair of the board of trustees confided something about the campaign’s $300 million goal. The previous campaign had finished in 1997 and raised $144 million. So when the board first discussed more than doubling that goal this time, “there was a lot of intake of breath,” Slon explains.

e-Procurement: From Buy-in to Buying

The right strategies help ensure institutions—and employees with purchasing power—realize all the benefits of e-procurement solutions.

As the benefits of e-procurement become more widely known, institutions are moving to incorporate these systems into their operations. And why not? As Sabrina Stover, CEO of BidSync, a provider of e-procurement systems, says, e-procurement saves time, keeps departments on budget, increases efficiencies, makes the procurement process more transparent, and encourages a more competitive bidding environment, among other advantages (including being greener).

403(b) Audits: Lessons Learned

Problems and challenges higher ed institutions encounter with retirement plans

Until recently, many 403(b) employee retirement plans were viewed not as actual plans but as clusters of individual employee contracts with different vendors. Higher ed institutions were like middle men, with their role limited to passing through employee contributions to individual plans. Administrators saw little need to pay much attention to their 403(b) plans or to exercise much oversight of third-party mutual funds or insurance companies managing employee funds.

Piled Higher & Deeper

Graduate student debt runs out of control.

Student borrowing is going up. National Student Loan Data System data shows that cumulative borrowing per student participating in federal loan programs increased from about $3,943 in 1990 to $11,510 in 2000 and $13,856 in 2009. Much of the increase is attributed to funding for graduate education, and recent changes in federal student loan policies for graduate students will likely cause this to go higher.

Cushioning the Blow

How college officials have communicated the need for tuition increases

There are two things Muhlenberg College (Pa.) president Randy Helm makes sure to do when he writes his annual tuition letter to parents, and both are in the first paragraph. First, he thanks parents for sending their children to the college; second, he details the following year’s tuition and fees and notes the percentage increase over the current year.

Spending Time on the Spending Policy

Rules to live by

In light of the current economic conditions and the decreased value of most endowments, many organizations are re-examining their investment strategies. Often overlooked: Spending policies must have not just the proper annual spending amount but also be adequately defined. 

A Look Beyond Campus Cards

Given the pervasive use of mobile devices, could handheld technology replace campus card programs altogether? After all, aiming a device at a residence hall keypad, or paying for vending snacks by waving a cell phone at the machine, are already possible, as is automated check-in at events, purchases at tech-savvy retailers, and connection to banking services.

With all that functionality, it just makes sense to consider a switch, believes Laura Ploughe, director of business applications and fiscal control in the university business services department at Arizona State University.

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