You are here

Feature

Subcategory of CFO News

Many colleges and universities are tempted to revamp buildings because there isn’t enough space to construct new, technology-rich facilities. But sometimes, the amount of renovation required can drive costs so high that it may be less expensive to build something new.

That was the situation at Gulf Coast State College (Fla). College president James Kerley explains that an early candidate for a new technology center was a building from the 1960s that was being used as a tech hub.

smoke stacks

Stop Feeding the Monster. End the Coal Age. Divest the West. Sandy Says: Divest Climate Destruction. Bound by Fossil Fuels, Freed by Action.

Messages like these have emblazoned banners on campuses across the country since 350.org’s Fossil Free divestment campaign began last November.

The idea was simple: Let online donors make multiple gifts with a single checkout. Not long after Randy Brown joined the Michigan State University advancement team as webmaster in 1999, he got assigned this task, which was anything but simple to execute.

“That was sort of his night job,” says Bob Thomas, assistant vice president for advancement marketing and communications. “It was kind of a running joke. We’d talk about it at annual planning meetings.” One year, someone even presented a mini shopping cart at the meeting to Brown as a tangible reminder.

Until a few years ago, a visitor to a college campus might have thought credit card vendors operated branch offices there, so pervasive was their marketing. For many students, getting their first credit card was a step toward adulthood. In the best of circumstances, students began lifelong associations with a particular bank or financial institution, and established their all-important credit history.

If the phrase “everything is negotiable” makes you uneasy, you’re not alone. Even though negotiation is increasingly essential for campus procurement departments, the task is often approached with trepidation. This isn’t surprising, given the past experience of many procurement professionals, says Steve Mack, director of procurement services for the University of Missouri System.

A particular anonymous couple, both Cornell University alumni, could be considered the proverbial advancement officer’s dream. They met in high school, attended college on scholarship, embarked on successful careers after graduation, and raised three children—all of whom attended their alma mater. Recently retired, they’ve now decided it is payback time.

They have joined other alumni, some fraternity and sorority groups, and a state grape growers association in choosing to channel their philanthropy through a donor-advised fund (DAF) account administered by Cornell.

With campus leaders looking to streamline operations and save resources, electronic payroll options are very appealing. The printing, envelope stuffing, and mailing costs associated with paper checks make them an administrative burden, says Anthony Peculic, senior director of product strategy at ADP.

The financial crisis is in the past, more or less, and campuses are looking ahead to a new era for their endowments. But what does this mean? Four years on, we’ve come to grips with the changes wrought by the September 2008 market crash. Finance departments are revising their theories and boards of trustees are revising their expectations under what has been called the “new normal”—a time of low stock market returns, low interest rates, and low growth in personal income.

The library was one of  the first buildings at  Gettysburg College to  get wireless internet  connectivity, a move IT  VP Rodney Tosten says  reflects the college's  priority on funding IT  projects that support its educational mission.

While enterprisewide IT projects are generally funded through a central operating budget and approval process, smaller projects may depend on the resourcefulness of the department head or even a professor to get done.

The cost of a college education continues to rise, despite declining consumer ability to pay for it. And with 70 percent of college students and parents agreeing that college is needed now more than ever, according to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College 2012,” finding an affordable institution is key. The College Board’s annual report on “Trends in Pricing” states that the total cost of attending a four-year public university rose 6 percent in-state and, at four-year private universities, costs rose 4.4 percent in the last year.

Pages