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Economy

 

MANY PEOPLE HAVE stopped watching the evening news. Why bother? More corporate greed. More stocks plummeting. More people losing their jobs, homes, or life savings. There’s the occasional “nearing the end of the recession” headline thrown in, but budget struggles have caused a number of layoffs on campuses.

 

IN THE MEDIA, FINANCIAL aid coverage tends to focus on topics such as the tensions between funding merit scholarships versus need-based grants, the growth in student and parent borrowing, and the need to increase funding for Federal Pell Grants. Federal or state work-study programs get little focus.

 

Our process was pretty much like everybody else’s. It was all about paper and very time consuming.

 

Welcome to the second Streamlined of 2009! My colleagues and I are proud to continue this series of publications designed to inform college and university administrators about new and innovative methods of streamlining business office operations.

 
 

TODAY’S JOBS MEAN NOTHING without tomorrow’s education. To be sure, stimulus dollars should be deployed to create jobs now. But that deployment also represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in the expansion of our nation’s educational capacity and facilities.

 

Seeking an alternative to the slow and inefficient system of mailing financial aid and other refund checks to students, Imperial Valley College set up its own direct deposit system. The only problem was just one out of 10 students signed up.

 

The downward slope of a stock market graph is an image that parallels how quickly traditional college dynamics can submerge and alter a familiar status quo. Tradition is rooted deep in higher education, but these economic times call for emerging change.

Forget the labels and discussions targeting non-traditional student versus incoming freshman. Financial security is the buzz phrase now. Institutions across the country and non-traditional students by the masses both want the same financial fix.

Today’s economic conditions are monopolizing discussions among leadership teams and boards of trustees at many colleges and universities. It is a nerve-wracking time, to say the least. Financial stresses now loom very large in pending decisions about enrollment, tuition increases, net revenue, financial aid policies, and discount rates.

Here are four immediate strategies to consider how to manage these challenges in ways that do not compromise an institution’s long-term strategy and sustainability:

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