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Today’s economic conditions are monopolizing discussions among leadership teams and boards of trustees at many colleges and universities. It is a nerve-wracking time, to say the least. Financial stresses now loom very large in pending decisions about enrollment, tuition increases, net revenue, financial aid policies, and discount rates.

Here are four immediate strategies to consider how to manage these challenges in ways that do not compromise an institution’s long-term strategy and sustainability:


WHEN BILL CLINTON'S 1992 PRESIDENTIAL campaign strategists came up with “It’s the economy, stupid,” which underscored that Clinton had a better understanding of issues facing the country at the time and therefore was a better choice than George H.W. Bush, the phrase quickly became popular in American political culture.


TIGHTER BUDGETS. CUTS TO PROGRAMS. LAYOFFS. Frozen salaries. The list goes on and on as to how colleges and universities are being affected by the country’s recession.

The downward slope of a stock market graph is an image that parallels how quickly traditional college dynamics can submerge and alter a familiar status quo. Tradition is rooted deep in higher education, but these economic times call for emerging change.

Forget the labels and discussions targeting non-traditional student versus incoming freshman. Financial security is the buzz phrase now. Institutions across the country and non-traditional students by the masses both want the same financial fix.

If you can solve three problems all at once, why not just go ahead and do it?


Welcome to the first Streamlined of 2009! My colleagues and I are proud to continue this series of publications designed to inform college and university administrators about new and innovative methods of streamlining business office operations.


Pennsylvania College of Technology has always used in-house programmers to develop its administrative and enrollment programs with great success. At one time the college was even considering designing its own electronic refund system.