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Business Officer Magazine
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Business Briefs

Short news articles based on research surveys and peers’ business experiences that can benefit institutions

Tampa Trivia Tidbits

600K

Square footage of the Tampa Convention Center, site of the NACUBO 2011 Annual Meeting, Tampa, July 9-12.

1,250

Number of golf courses in Florida; this is the largest number in any U.S. state.

65K

Number of seats at the Raymond James Stadium, which will host the annual meeting closing event.

14

Number of colleges and universities in the Tampa St. Petersburg/Clearwater area.

$1.1B

Annual economic activity generated by the University of South Florida for the Tampa Bay area.

Sources: stateofflorida.com; "Higher Education in Florida: The Emerging Economic Catastrophe-And How to Prevent It" (Business/Higher Education Partnership); Tampa Bay Florida/Complete List of Colleges and Universities; Raymond James Stadium Web site and the Tampa Convention Center Web site.

RESEARCH
Net Tuition Revenue Shows Some Hopeful Signs

Net tuition revenue for first-time full-time freshmen at private nonprofit institutions is recovering from the losses experienced in 2008. Such are the findings reported in the recently released 2010 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study (TDS). The survey showed that the rate of change in tuition revenue from 2008 to 2009 was only 1.8 percent but it grew in 2010 to  2.8 percent. Prior to the economic downturn in late 2007, the average annual change in net tuition revenue was 4.3 percent.

READ AN ONLINE EXTRA,Signs of Recovery for Net Tuition Revenue," for a more complete analysis of the 2010 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study in Business Officer Plus.

The latest results of this annual survey series, launched in 1994, are based on responses from 381 private, nonprofit institutions. Findings measure tuition discount rates and other indicators of institutional grant awards to undergraduates attending four-year, private nonprofit colleges and universities.

Comprehensive Comparisons

The 2010 TDS contains tables that track tuition discount rates, changes in net tuition revenue, and the percentage of freshmen receiving institutional grants. Other collected data focus on the average institutional grant as a percentage of tuition and fees, the percentage of institutional grants funded by endowment, and the percentage of grants awarded to students with demonstrated financial need.

The report organizes the data by NACUBO constituent group, Carnegie classification, and endowment level. You'll find tables focused on selected demographics such as region, women's colleges, and religious institutions. Two appendices capture data from (1) all institutions that participated in the NACUBO Tuition Discounting surveys from 2000 to 2010 and (2) only those institutions that participated in the study consecutively for either 10 years or 3 years.

Figure 1

Positive Percentages

This year's study shows that the tuition discount rates are climbing for first-time, full-time freshmen as well as for all undergraduates. The estimated discount rate for freshmen in 2010 was 42.4 percent, and the rate for all undergraduates reached an all-time high of 37.1 percent. The 2010 study suggests that institutions are increasing their discount rates in response to greater student need and to attract and retain student enrollment. On average, private institutions are funding 10.3 percent of their institutional grant dollars from their restricted and unrestricted endowment earnings, meaning a majority of institutional grants are unfunded.

Like many institutions dealing with the economic downturn, private colleges and universities have had to implement hiring and salary freezes, cut budgets, and defer projects to offset the increasing cost of student grant aid. Nevertheless, the 2010 TDS results show progress in the right direction when it comes to tuition revenue.

Figure 2

RESOURCE LINKS The 2010 NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study is now available for purchase from NACUBO's Online Research Products Web site. Participating institutions receive complimentary access to the report. Instructions for participants are located on the Tuition Discounting Study Research page.

NACUBO CONTACT Natalie Pullaro, manager, research and policy analysis, 202.861.2596 

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SPOTLIGHT: RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES
Preserving Facility-Related Institutional Memory

Would you tear down a building designed by Thomas Jefferson? Neither would we, at least not intentionally.

At the University of Virginia (U.Va.), Charlottesville, as we construct new buildings, we also renovate, repurpose, or reassign existing facilities. To determine which treatment is best requires that we know the particular building's history. Unfortunately, at many universities—including our campus of 537 buildings—that information is difficult to find.

We set out to preserve our institutional memory by centralizing historic and essential information about facilities in an easily accessed format, which became U.Va.'s building documentation repository (BDR). Our work has evolved into a cross-functional institutional practice. Decision makers can easily access facilities data, including any potential restrictions on future assignments of space. For example, a manager can instantly review historical details, deed and gift restrictions, and funding sources—crucial factors in making sound decisions about use or disposal of the facility.

Setting Some Ground Rules

A working group of 15 departmental stakeholders determined the precise data to be stored in the new repository. Fortunately, we were able to expand on an existing historic preservation plan and a space/building database. When group members began researching several buildings to identify information valuable for current planning, they soon confirmed that most key details were not in a standardized database but in paper form or various electronic formats. Some facts resided solely in someone's memory or in a confidential file in the development office or president's office. The initial effort to find and enter documents took 14 months, and the process is ongoing.

Each department assigned an individual to research, upload, and maintain data related to its specific area of responsibility. He or she identified essential data such as official naming documents; deeds and deed restrictions; historic significance; environmental concerns; funding sources; gift restrictions; and other limitations or certifications. The document repository also includes current and historic photographs and sometimes even articles related to the buildings or their uses.

Customizing Database Components

Because the information we stored was unique to U.Va., it made sense for our IT and communications department to develop and maintain a software application to manage the repository. We also needed to incorporate existing data from our space/building database and consider various levels of access and security.

The resources required for software implementation included the cost of the server and personnel time for data collection. The Web-based application took about three months to build and about one month to test. While the cost for researching and uploading the information for the existing buildings was substantial, capturing the details for new buildings coming online is proving to be efficient because the database and defined processes are now firmly in place. Currently, 15 data stewards from various departments maintain the data, and more than 400 individuals have requested and been granted various levels of access to the BDR.

Far-reaching Facilities Tools

The University of Virginia's building documentation repository is an example of the value of engaging multiple departments to centralize essential information about buildings in an easy-to-use searchable database. An array of university administrators with varying responsibilities—including vice presidents, school leaders, and departmental space managers—are now able to consult the repository before making decisions regarding reassignment, repurposing, or demolition of buildings. This process may serve as a model for others looking to create a bridge to rich institutional history for future decision makers.

SUBMITTED BY Judy Maretta, director of space and real estate management, and Colette Sheehy, vice president for management and budget, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

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