Magazine article University Business

Increasing the Value Proposition of Higher Education Is a Must for Institutional Success: Focus on the Future by Creating Positive Student Perceptions, Using Technology and Budget Dollars Wisely, and Addressing the Impact of Rising Tuition Costs

Magazine article University Business

Increasing the Value Proposition of Higher Education Is a Must for Institutional Success: Focus on the Future by Creating Positive Student Perceptions, Using Technology and Budget Dollars Wisely, and Addressing the Impact of Rising Tuition Costs

Article excerpt

DeeAnn Wenger, President, Nelnet Business Solutions

What are the main concerns students and the community have concerning the affordability of higher education?

There are two major concerns that seem to be the most popular worries of students and the general public.

The rising cost of tuition: Tuition prices have been increasing at a rate over the past years that far outpaces the rate of wage inflation.

Student debt: The resulting student loan debt from increased tuition continues to mount. It used to be that students could work and pay for their education and not have to accrue too much debt. Times have changed.

What are the implications of these concerns?

These concerns impact colleges and universities at the institutional level. If students cannot afford these rising costs, enrollment will start to decline. That leads to decreased funding from tuition, which then can snowball and have a negative impact on the institution's ability to thrive.

We are also seeing the media debate the value of education in relation to the cost overall. A negative public perception about the value of higher education can also lead to declining enrollment numbers.

How can college and university leaders build--and deliver--a compelling value proposition despite high tuition costs?

It is crucial to get in touch with what students are looking for and how they want to be educated. It will take innovative solutions to decrease costs on campus. Technology can be engaged more efficiently at many institutions; for example, by relying more on online education or even outsourcing some courses.

Backroom functionality also can be made more efficient. Outsourcing certain services often saves money. This is another area where technology is a popular solution. Many departments at colleges and universities are plagued by manual processes that have been in place for many years. …

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