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Colleges with small budgets: No problem

Higher ed leaders curb spending to focus efforts on sophomore programs
University Business, February 2017

Many second-year-experience programs work with only a few thousand dollars in their coffers. Leaders of these initiatives forge partnerships with other departments to curb spending and help students pick majors, choose the right study abroad program or connect with faculty through advising and social events.

“I have consulted with other institutions on how to accomplish the learning outcomes we’ve established on a zero-dollar budget—it can be done,” says Melissa Flowers, director of residential life at Trinity University in Texas.

In an effort to create a zero-dollar budget, the Residential Life Office at Trinity—which currently budgets $15,000 for its sophomore program—collaborates with academic affairs, study abroad, the registrar and the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success to expand its programs to sophomores.

With an operating budget of $50,000 for its sophomore program, administators at The Ohio State University still must be frugal, since large numbers of students are involved and the money is used on planning and promotion of their events.

Funding for the faculty and student stipends are provided by the university’s central budget that has a line item for student success and varies from year-to-year since the participation numbers change.

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