With rising tuition costs under scrutiny, colleges are minimizing annual tuition increases while boosting financial aid packages, straining an already fragile business model.
Higher education is facing a change in demographics, resistance to tuition increases and escalating expenses. This study set out to identify whether there is a common set of core strategies leading to financial sustainability at campuses that belong to the New American Colleges and Universities (NACU), a consortium of more than 20 small to mid-sized independent institutions. The researchers document several examples of NACU institutions that consistently increased their annual return on investment.
- Presidents at high-performing campuses exercise centralized, data-driven decision making and vigilant oversight of all financial matters.
- They rely on performance-based and data-informed metrics to find ways to increase efficiencies, especially with regard to staffing realignment and cost of instruction.
- These presidents are willing to make unpopular decisions, while maintaining full transparency, if data show it will benefit the institution.
- High-performing campuses are expanding in high-demand areas—including graduate, non-credit and online programs—and they reward people who work hard for the benefit of the institution.