The last three years have inflicted unprecedented costs on American higher education institutions, resulting in campus closures, refunded student fees, and a rapid shift to online learning—all as declining state support continues to undermine budgets. According to a GatherContent study, most universities are still grappling with legacy technologies while consolidating data across multiple silos. These trends have continued to worsen issues that existed in higher ed prior to 2020, turning cracks into chasms and leaving challenged colleges and universities with the daunting task of using technology to help effectively innovate and differentiate their institution’s value proposition.
In this series, we will be looking more closely at financial and programmatic models of higher education, presenting tools for understanding your institution’s performance through benchmarking, introducing concepts from financial analysis to help institutions analyze their mix of academic programs, looking at the challenges of introducing financial analysis techniques in academe, and looking at the concept of the institutional value proposition.
The next several years will be very challenging. Institutions faced with fiscal and enrollment challenges should be taking action to reset business models by taking a hard look at program mixes and administrative efficiencies. Mergers and partnerships are also viable strategies to increase the viability of such institutions. Failure to address these challenges at their onset will make campus closures more commonplace.