Income-share agreements are making a comeback, but are they a smart bet?

Income-share agreements (ISAs), in which students pay reduced tuition up front for a portion of their salary after graduation, are part of the new strategy to expand access, increase affordability, and reduce the risk students run in paying for college, according to Vemo Education, a company that handles income-based student-financing solutions. And a growing number of colleges and universities have recently implemented ISAs as a new, student-centric model that aligns costs with outcomes.

Unlike student loans, ISAs have a fixed number of payments. This may result in a student paying less or more than the total tuition reduction they received during enrollment, but the income-share agreement is always capped at an amount that will not exceed some multiplier (e.g., 1x, 2x, 2.5x).

ISAs let universities show that they stand behind their “product” by taking on part of the risk to finance it. However, if a student doesn’t make a minimum income, no repayments are required. On the other hand, if the student exceeds income expectations, the university receives a bonus on its investment—up to a point.…Read More

Students get smart about college ROI

Financial concerns are consistently identified as a top roadblock to higher education, and for good reason—securing scholarships and financial aid, along with carrying burdensome student loans, can overwhelm students before they even earn a degree.

Research shows that almost 3 million students drop out of school each year due to financial constraints. It also reveals that more than half of institutions don’t have, or are unaware of what they use for, automated scholarship management.

Most K-12 district leaders say it’s important to create a college-going culture, but they also cite concerns about paying for college prevent many of their students from applying in the first place. Students say another top barrier is difficultly matching potential careers to their interests, which is something reports about overall ROI, including career outlook, can address.…Read More

3 smart ways to improve IT funding in higher ed

Traditionally, IT teams built their campus technology environment from the ground up. They implemented hardware builds that not only accrued large initial costs, but also hefty replacement expenses. In fact, preliminary costs were so large, cyclical expenditures into refresh cycles of equipment were often paid for as capital expenses. Because of the large investment, IT leaders were “encouraged” to service and extend the use of outdated equipment for as long as possible.

Fast forward to today. Technology is now increasingly agile, responsive, integrative, flexible, and streamlined, and funding models of higher educational institutions need to reflect this.

How to improve funding for IT…Read More

How do today’s students pay for graduate school?

The majority of graduate students believe an advanced degree is necessary to their career aspirations, and borrowing money is the top way students are paying for graduate school today, according to a new survey.

Two-thirds of grad students (64 percent) believe an advanced degree is the new minimum standard level of education for any professional occupation, and 95 percent say an advanced degree is necessary to enter, advance, accelerate, or remain competitive in their chosen career, according to “How America Pays for Graduate School,” the study from Sallie Mae and market research company Ipsos.

Fifteen percent of graduate students said they expected a salary increase of $50,000 or more after graduation. Twenty-one percent expected an increase of $20,000-$29,999.…Read More

How a student-loved technology helps a university with financial aid

In 2014, Western Union made a surprising discovery when surveying millennials about their financial habits: More than 20 percent of them had never written a check.

This may seem unusual to those of us from older generations. After all, many of us have used checks as our primary way of paying the mortgage and other monthly bills.

But millennials–that group of people born between the 1980s and early 2000s–have earned the nickname the “unbanked generation” for a reason. Thanks to the increasingly ubiquitous nature of smartphones and payment apps, young people are not just eschewing checks, but many other functions associated with physical banks. This creates some interesting challenges in how colleges and universities approach financial aid for today’s students.…Read More

Why university fundraising must embrace technology and adopt smarter strategies

For today’s advancement professionals, the pressure is enormous.

As colleges and universities face challenges like declining enrollment, depressed student retention, and mounting student debt, along with shifting perceptions of the value of a college degree, higher education’s leaders must find a new mix of funding to achieve sustainability, let alone to expand and invest. No longer able to rely on tuition revenue to support growth, institutions are now looking to their gift officers to secure more significant contributions and secure them now. In a recent Ruffalo Noel Levitz survey, 90 percent of chief advancement officers identified dollars raised as their top priority. To add to that pressure, gift officers report that current fundraising practices lack the necessary level of effectiveness and efficiency to meet higher goals. Institutions are now in an age where they must raise more dollars on tight timelines without proportional increases in resources.

The only way fundraisers can meet these demands and the expectation to do more with less–or even the same amount–is by intelligently leveraging new technologies, applications, and practices to reach more of the right people more efficiently. In most cases, today’s gift officers are still being asked to sift through more data, build deep relationships, personalize their outreach, and manage bigger prospect pools–all with outdated approaches and outdated technology.…Read More

#2: 5 major ways Trump’s proposed education budget would impact schools, students

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on May 22nd of this year, was our #2 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]

If “near-final” documents obtained by The Washington Post are true, education would see deep cuts to the tune of more than $10 billion under President Donald Trump’s education budget. The budget is set to be released as early as Tuesday.

The Washington Post reports that funding for federal K-12 and higher-education initiatives and programs would vanish or be redirected.…Read More

University introduces new initiative to partner with students to reduce upfront costs of college

Clarkson University has announced that students entering into the 2018-2019 school year will now have access to an innovative student finance model that allows them to reduce the upfront cost of college by paying a set percentage of their income after graduation.

The initiative, known as the Lewis Income Share Agreement (LISA), underscores the mutual commitment between Clarkson and each student to achieve the best career outcome possible.  Students who participate in the program will receive LISA funding as well as intensified career advising focused on developing their leadership skills, and supporting them in career exploration and preparation.

The program is designed to give students an alternative framework for financing education in a way that ignites personal and professional goals leading to accelerated, early career success.…Read More

Breaking records: How this Texas university achieved its best fundraising year

The world of higher education fundraising has changed considerably over the past three decades. It’s noisy out there; your message and your asks are at risk of being lost or forgotten. Not to mention, alumni from your institutions are being marketed to and solicited by thousands of relevant, deserving causes. Plus, higher education institutions are increasingly reliant on small pools of major donors for anywhere from 75 to 95 percent of their annual fundraising totals (source: Forrester Consulting).

The loss of only a few donors could have a damaging impact on fundraising goals. What can you do about it?  Well, universities and schools must prioritize building, growing and retaining relationships with their donor base; moreover, the opportunity to achieve record-breaking revenue awaits those who adopt new processes, technologies and data.

In a recently commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Blackbaud*, Forrester found that the University of North Texas (UNT) received a record-breaking 176 major gifts in 2017 — 56 percent over its ten-year average and 24 percent over the height of its 2012 major giving campaign.…Read More

Hundreds of colleges and universities to offer students more value for their course materials

Cengage, an education and technology company, continues to partner with hundreds of colleges and universities across the US to offer students more value for their course materials. The model, called Cengage Inclusive Access, can save students up to 55 percent and ensures they have access to digital course materials on the first day of class. For the fall 2017 semester, more than 140,000 students are benefitting from the model.

“Immediate engagement with course resources on the first day of the class sets the foundation for a successful semester. This is a more streamlined, student-friendly and cost-effective approach to connecting students with learning material,” said Dr. Jenny Billings, chair of Study Skills, Developmental Reading and English (DRE), and Curriculum English at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. “Since launching the initiative three years ago in the liberal arts division, it has expanded to multiple areas of the college and is used in more than fifty courses.”

Dr. Billings, a Cengage faculty partner, noted a 17-point increase in retention after implementing the Inclusive Access model, bringing the DRE completion rate up to 84.5 percent in just two years. Across all campuses of Indiana University, the Inclusive Access model saved nearly 20,000 students a total of more than $1.3 million off print list prices over the 2016-2017 academic year.…Read More