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While many institutions that examine their tuition remission spending wind up reining in spending in this area, some schools are actually increasing the benefit to better recruit and retain top-notch talent.

Last year, leaders at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, increased the tuition benefit for employees’ spouses and children from 75 percent to full coverage. Employees themselves already received 100 percent remission.

In an era in which every college or university expense must be scrutinized, tuition remission policy details may be worth analyzing. (Gettyimages.com: Retrorocket)

Almost 90 percent of colleges and universities offer tuition remission benefits to their employees and employees’ dependents. And with college tuition costs skyrocketing, that benefit has become increasingly sought-after—but expensive for the institution.

Public-private partnerships are a growing trend that allow universities to fund the construction of new buildings and, if desired, turn over maintenance and operations to skilled partners. Structuring these decades-long partnerships for a successful outcome involves careful planning on the big decisions and the details.

Although Granville Towers, located across the street from UNC Chapel Hill’s campus, was built in 1964, it has been refurbished and updated multiple times by EdR, which manages the 1,327-bed residence hall. Student amenities include weekly housekeeping services for in-suite bathrooms, on-site dining hall and fitness center, a community kitchen, study lounges and a gift-wrapping station.

“What advice do you have for administrators about making long-term relationships with firms like yours beneficial for both parties?”

“Colleges and universities must clearly define their primary objectives and maintain a degree of flexibility with respect to their approach in ultimately determining the business relationship with their private sector partner. By their very nature, P3s are not ‘business as usual’ and therefore require clarity of purpose and flexibility in approach.”

Campus leaders across the country are working to spend money with businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans and other underrepresented groups. An equally important goal shared by many institutions is helping these business owners develop the know-how to compete in the wider economy.

Some are skeptical about the ability for any school to be need-blind, because anyone viewing an application can surmise financial need without reading a student’s FAFSA form.

The answers to common questions about need-blind policies sheds light on why they’ve been adopted whether they work and whether other enrollment diversity initiatives can be just as effective.

Revenue alone doesn’t drive every real estate initiative. Higher ed institutions involved in development, typically off-campus, also consider the economic revitalization of a blighted surrounding neighborhood and initiatives that support the core mission.

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.

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

Facebook.com/msufinaid/

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.

Being able to draw from the endowment is important for an institution like Berea College because of its no-tuition promise. Students are required to work as they attend school, with assignments such as greeting guests at the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel.

On average, academic institutions spend between 4.5 and 5 percent of their endowments annually. But when endowment returns are way down, it’s not exactly prudent to spend the same percentage of the endowment with the assumption that target investment payoff percentages will return.

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