Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Finance Troubles Put Pressure on Higher Education

Guest Author

By Anke Mogannam, Senior Director, Student Cloud Product Marketing, Oracle

Education is viewed as the great equalizer in the United States. Regardless of your socioeconomic status, early in life, it’s believed that if you work hard and attend college—you too can live the American dream.

The dream is increasingly becoming out of reach for many Americans. In the 20 years between 1987 and 2017, the cost of attending a public college increased 213%, even adjusting for inflation. The meteoric rise in tuition has contributed to the ever-increasing student loan debt, which is now approaching $1.5 trillion.

Now more than ever, colleges are feeling the pressure to reduce costs, while maintaining the quality of education students deserve.

The 2019 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers (CAO) illustrates some of the pressures leaders currently face:

  • Close to 9 in 10 CAOs (87 percent) say that financial concerns are prevalent in their institution’s discussions about launching new academic programs
  • More than two-thirds of CAOs (68 percent) say that most new funds for academic programs will have to come from reallocation of existing funds rather than from new revenue

CAOs across the board are concerned about the ever-increasing financial constraints that hinder their ability to do things like launch new academic programs. They are being asked to do more with less, and rising to the occasion will be difficult using antiquated systems.

We take a closer look at the survey results in this webcast with Inside Higher Ed.

Inertia in higher education

Colleges walk a financial tightrope, managing the flow of capital that comes in via tuition, alumni donations, and corporate-sponsored research. Most are not keen on making long-term investments in software whose ROI may take years to realize. This resistance has led to many colleges hanging onto their legacy student information systems, whose capabilities are limited. They lack the architecture to support non-traditional educational experiences like non-credit courses, competency-based programs and self-paced study.

Institutions that leverage Oracle Student Cloud are now able to manage both traditional and non-traditional programs, all in one place, facilitating a true student lifecycle management experience—without a capital investment. The software as a service (SaaS) model means that institutions pay on a monthly basis, making the system an operational expense, rather than a capital one.

Oracle Student Cloud capabilities include:

  • Student financial planning, helping financial aid professionals to manage each student's financial plan individually, automatically, and in real time
  • Student management, helping to reduce expenses and provide support for mission-critical tasks of teaching and learning
  • Student engagement, to help personalize engagement, boost retention, and improve outcomes
  • Student recruiting, to help meet enrollment goals, increase recruiter productivity, and improve forecast accuracy
  • Student service to quickly resolve issues, provide student self-service, and improve satisfaction

Understand the results of the 2019 provost survey

The 9th annual Inside Higher Ed provost survey provides insight into the challenges CAOs are facing. In this webcast, available on demand, attendees will hear how CAOs are responding to questions such as:

  • What type of cost-cutting is under consideration
  • Issues regarding faculty and tenure practices
  • How provosts are assessing academic health

Register now to watch the webcast.

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