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John T. Delaney joins American University after serving as dean of the University of Pittsburgh's graduate school of business.

Delaney, recently dean of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and the College Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, oversaw a 20 percent rise in enrollment and an increase of $4.5 million in annual giving there.

This FutureShock is the third in a trilogy of commentaries on the for-profit (private sector) higher education industry and the implications of an increasingly complex and skeptical regulatory environment. In this piece we focus on the emergent, some say irreversible, megatrend turning private sector schools, colleges, and universities into nonprofits and vice versa.

As rankings continue to cover the spectrum from the serious to the silly, grappling with their impact on and off campus raises crucial questions of equity, the true meaning of student success and the diverse roles of higher ed in modern society.

In his book, Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses, Lawrence Ross says recent high-profile events represent a fraction of the racial conflicts occurring on campuses.

In his book, Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses, Lawrence Ross says recent high-profile events represent a fraction of the racial conflicts occurring on campuses.

Whether in information technology, marketing or even academics, rarely does anything get done before knowing what other institutions did. In higher education, benchmarking data is often one of the first steps on the path to action.

Michigan State University ran a Facebook photo contest so students could show experiences made possible by financial aid.

Michigan State University

Social experiment: Facebook Photo contest

The idea: To show the positive side of financial aid, Michigan State held a contest that asked students to share a photo of an experience that would not have been possible had they not received aid. Ten students won $500 each.

Just 30 percent of financial aid professionals reported using social media to provide financial literacy content to students.

Financial aid offices that invest time on the major platforms say social media lightens the workload. On a higher level, social networks represent another way to provide students with financial literacy education that can advance institutional goals, including better retention and lower cohort default rates.

Alumni. That’s what alumni association magazines should, to a much greater extent, be about. At least they should if we want them to do better at marketing the university.

Effective card offices focus on bottom-line growth. “Two of the benefits we bring to our campus are cost reduction and revenue growth,” says John Beckwith, director of campus business services at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

For instance, before its single-card program launched in 1997, the campus had seven different cards for students to use, with separate ones for ID, library, transportation, event tickets, food services, laundry and room entry.

What aspects of customer service do campus card offices seem to do best with—and in what areas do they struggle the most? 

Down to business: Students will get a chance to work with foreign entrepreneurs through a new program that will invite startups to launch on CUNY campuses.

A new incubator program at the City University of New York that offers foreign entrepreneurs a path to U.S. citizenship will also provide students with a potential front-row seat to the next wave of business innovations.

Say cheese: Most University of Alabama students avoid waiting in line at the Action Card office for an ID by submitting their application online. For anyone unable to access that system or who needs a replacement card, the office is ready to assist.

Regardless of the size of the staff or office, efficient campus card programs share several best practices: A focus on customer service, cutting-edge technology and collaboration with the campus community and beyond.

Community colleges have been in the news during the current election cycle, due to plans by some politicians—including President Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders—who suggest the federal government should provide free education for any citizen willing to put in the bookwork.

But so far this is just talk for colleges, which have yet to plan for the contingency of becoming a gratis educational option for the populace.

Intentional Endowments Network supports investment practices that produce financial returns while addressing environmental, social, governance and sustainability factors.

With college students increasingly calling on schools to divest endowments from fossil fuels, Becker College in Massachusetts became the first institution to mandate that all of its investments generate a positive impact on society—and a targeted financial return.

Eight years ago administrators laying plans for Guttman Community College in New York City set a goal: The school would make getting students to graduation a primary mission. The approach is now proliferating across the community college sector.