Higher-Ed Group Launches Consulting Service to Help Colleges Solve Challenges

The National Association of College and University Business Officers recently launched a consulting service that will help higher-ed institutions solve a host of upcoming challenges ranging from revenue growth to better use of data.

No matter an organization’s mission, it is difficult to achieve it without revenue coming in, as well as properly managing the revenue that’s on hand. The National Association of College and University Business Officers’ members understand this better than most. That’s why the association recently launched a consulting service to help higher-education institutions with revenue challenges they are expected to face.

“There are lots of institutions finding some kind of stress around a business model that used to be successful, and it’s not now,” said Susan Whealler Johnston, president and CEO of NACUBO. “They are looking into the future and seeing enrollment challenges that are severe and real. They want to get ahead of that challenge that is coming or respond to current challenges they are facing.”

NACUBO’s fee-based consulting service is open to all colleges and universities, but members do receive a discount. It is also not a separate entity and is run by NACUBO staff, including Vice President for Consulting Services Jim Hundrieser.

The consulting service will deliver customized solutions in a number of areas, including revenue growth, sustainable business models, operational assessments, financial assessments, president and board support, and more.

Hundrieser said that some of the revenue challenges universities face can’t even be addressed until the right people at the institution agree the organization is facing a problem. “Not everyone is openly accepting that our environment is changing,” Hundrieser said, noting that university student population is morphing, now including more older, working students. “How will they build infrastructure to navigate diversity of enrollment types? We might be able to provide an extra voice or resource to help them cultivate the change that is needed.”

In recent months, NACUBO has been active in efforts to get higher-ed institutions to use data more effectively, helping spearhead the Change with Analytics initiative. The new service can help institutions better analyze data too.

“We’re looking at this on an individual institution basis,” Hundrieser said. “They may say, ‘We have a bucket full of data and don’t know where to get started. How they might use data to drive decisions?’ Or it may be an institution that is rich with data and analysis, but they need an external group to come in and validate that data.”

In addition to bringing in revenue for NACUBO, the consulting service will help the organization home in on which areas are troubling many of its member institutions and use that knowledge to inform NACUBO resources.

“As a membership association, any time you engage with members and learn directly from institutions, you need to be paying attention to that and responding through publications, or additional programming, or online learning,” Johnston said. “We become better informed about our members through working directly with our members.”

Hundrieser added, “I think we are hoping to learn those emerging practices. Every institution is doing something great. We want to help them all grow and thrive.”

How is your association helping members address challenges expected to crop up in your industry? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a former editor at Associations Now. MORE

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