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American colleges and universities are breeding grounds for innovative ideas and open information sharing. Pair that with a large number of systems on a given network and a vulnerable student population with fresh credit and you've got an appealing target for identity thieves.

Looking the part: Students at Missouri University of Science & Technology need not venture off campus or even pay anything to find their first professional attire. After a résumé review in the career center, they can jaunt across the hall to the suit closet and emerge career-ready.

Raising awareness of traditional and newer career-preparation services, which thanks to technology can often be delivered remotely, is essential. Career centers are proving, too, that they can create innovative programming to entice participation. Here are several successful approaches worth adopting.


Over the next decade, higher education will experience a significant shift, as the millennial generation gives way to “Generation Z.” As a result of this multi-generational shift in student expectations, institutions will have to adapt how they do business across departments, from financial aid to the business office to student services. This will include using social media effectively to communicate with students and their families—particularly in the financial aid and business offices.

Have you heard about the high school kid who was so adept at playing video games that he won an athletic scholarship to an online university? Beneath the laugh at today’s virtual world is a less exaggerated but more sober reality. The growth of distance learning, with for-credit courses and online degrees from both campus-based and online schools, promises to challenge the economies of college towns and university neighborhoods everywhere.

Students at Savannah College of Art and Design have a variety of dining styles and locations to choose from across campus.

Only one-third of 3,400 U.S. college students say they’re satisfied with their meal plans, found a survey by food industry research firm Technomic. But schools are finding that to address the problem, they need to go beyond simply improving what winds up on diners’ plates.

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.

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.

Americans are increasingly choosing donor-advised funds (DAFs) as their preferred charitable giving vehicle. They have become the fastest growing vehicle in philanthropy, outnumbering private foundations by more than two-to-one. In 2010 (the most recent available data), grantmaking from DAFs totaled more than $6.1 billion, according to the “2011 Donor-Advised Fund Report” from National Philanthropic Trust.

Growing numbers of students came to campus this fall, as they have for over half a century. The beginning of school year ritual seems to go on forever, but for the first time, there are signs that, in its present form, it won’t. And it is the oft-ignored college town outside the campus that will be most affected.

Who are you and how did you find us? That's what admissions officers at colleges and universities all over the country are asking this year as "stealth applications" proliferate.