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Business Officer Magazine

Business Briefs

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

Donation Dollars Dip


Cumulative percentage change (in inflation-adjusted dollars) in charitable contributions to education from FY08 to FY10.


Total contributions to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. in FY10.


FY10 charitable contributions provided to education (including colleges and universities).


Percentage increase in contributions in current dollars provided to education from FY09 to FY10.

Source: Giving USA 2011: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2010 (Giving USA Foundation, 2011).


NCES Survey Tracks Post-College Experiences

A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides insight into post-college employment, graduate school attendance, and other experiences of students who completed bachelor's degrees in academic year 2007-08. The report, 2008-09 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:08/09): A First Look at Recent College Graduates, tracks certain activities and experiences of these new college graduates one year after completing their baccalaureate programs.

The data for the report are based on NCES's surveys of approximately 17,000 students who received their first bachelor's degrees sometime between June 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. The surveys, which are the first phase of B&B studies that will follow 2008-09 graduates for several years, were completed on or before June 30, 2009-roughly one year after college graduation.

Following are summaries of the students' employment, graduate school attendance, and student loan debt experiences, with the results compared by gender and race/ethnicity wherever possible.

Employment and Earnings      

At the time of the 2009 survey interviews, about 84 percent of the survey population was working at least part time; 9 percent were unemployed (that is, not working, but actively looking for work); and 7 percent were not in the labor force (not employed and not actively looking for work). This latter group includes degree recipients who may have entered graduate school. Women had a slightly higher employment rate than men (84.4 percent versus 83.7 percent), and a slightly higher share of white non-Hispanic graduates were employed than students of other racial/ethnic groups.

Gross median annual earnings for degree recipients who were employed full time were $36,000. Men reported higher earnings ($40,000) than women ($34,600). Among racial/ethnic groups, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans had higher median earnings ($41,000) than others. Earnings also varied by field of study, as bachelor's degree holders in engineering had median employment earnings of $54,400, while those with education degrees had median earnings of $34,000.

Post-College Educational Enrollment

Overall, about 30 percent of 2007-08 first-time bachelor's degree recipients had enrolled in another postsecondary education program, or had been accepted to a program and were planning to enroll sometime during the 2009-10 academic year. Roughly 20 percent were enrolled in, or planning to enroll in, a program leading to a master's degree or post-baccalaureate certificate; 5 percent in a program leading to a first professional degree (primarily medicine, law, and theology); and 2 percent in a doctoral program. Slightly more than 3 percent were enrolled in programs leading to an undergraduate-level degree or certificate.

Roughly 27 percent of African Americans were in master's degree or post-baccalaureate certification programs, versus 19 percent of white non-Hispanics, and 22 percent of Hispanics. Women also represented a higher share enrolled in master's degree or graduate certificate programs (22 percent compared with 18 percent of men).

Student Loan Debt

Overall, about 66 percent of the 2007-08 first-time baccalaureate holders had committed to at least one student loan to finance their undergraduate programs. The majority (61.5 percent) had a federal student loan, while just under 36 percent had a nonfederal loan. The average total loan debt (aggregated federal and nonfederal loans) among borrowers was $24,700. Federal loan recipients had an average debt of $18,200, while nonfederal loan recipients borrowed on average $13,900. The average amounts borrowed include only the principal balances of loans; accrued interest from nonfederal loans and unsubsidized federal loans is not included in the survey report.

NCES does not report the loan indebtedness by gender or race/ethnicity. But the data do show that more than 90 percent of the degree recipients from private for-profit (proprietary) institutions graduated with student loan debt, and the average total debt among these students was $36,800. In contrast, roughly 64 percent of those who were awarded degrees from nondoctoral-granting four-year public colleges and universities had debt, and the average among these students was $20,500.

The second follow-up of the B&B study, planned for 2012, will examine bachelor's degree recipients' experiences through the fourth year after graduation.

RESOURCE LINK The First Look B&B report is available at the NCES Web site.

NACUBO CONTACT Kenneth Redd, director, research and policy analysis, 202.861.2527

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Benefits of Aligning Career Development With Alumni Relations

While collaboration between career development and alumni offices is not unusual on campuses around the country, the University of Richmond, Virginia, took a more deliberate step to connect current students more frequently and formally with those who came before them. On July 1, 2010, the university formally aligned its career development center with the office of alumni relations to form the office of alumni and career services.

One area in which alumni are now playing a more critical role is in achieving the university's commitment to increase internship opportunities available to students. This initiative is a core part of the university's 2009-14 strategic plan, "The Richmond Promise." Such hands-on roles are increasingly essential to completing the campus learning experience and competing successfully for jobs after graduation. In addition to the internships, the new services center encourages other effective networking events and activities that are making a positive impact.

After Richmond President Edward Ayers made the decision to align the offices, the staff embarked on conversations regarding position descriptions and reporting lines, co-location of offices, and budgetary considerations. Last December, we launched the combined offices' strategic planning initiative, with a committee co-chaired by the associate directors and assisted by outside counsel. As of July 1, we have a plan that will guide us for the next three years.

Working Webs

Richmond's mascot is the Spider, which provides many kinds of imagery and inspiration. For one, we encourage our first-year and undergraduate "Spiders" to build their webs of contact. We assist by aligning ongoing programs and services previously held independently for students and alumni.

One such program is the annual fall networking reception in New York City for alumni in the finance industry. It will now be held in conjunction with the annual finance career trip for students. On the evening of their overnight stay in the city, students can attend a networking reception with alumni in the very professional fields in which they hope to find internships and jobs. The University of Richmond Alumni Association signaled its support of the office alignment and its commitment to students by sponsoring these networking receptions in the year ahead.

Other networking options include: (1) students' ability to review online postings of jobs and internships provided by alumni and (2) opportunities for alumni to take advantage of the center's career counseling, review online job postings, and attend information sessions focused on applying for federal jobs.

Expanding Engagement

Fostering lifelong relationships between the University of Richmond and its alumni continues to be an important goal. Doing so through these types of programs and services benefits everyone. And, we know that the more people feel engaged, the more likely they are to give back, be it by hiring another Spider, referring a prospective student to us, or making a financial gift.

As we implement our strategic plan, we have expanded the metrics to measure our progress. For instance, we can now identify and quantify the job and intern postings provided by alumni. Some pre-alignment metrics remain, such as the number of regional events held across the world or the number of student-advising appointments.

While some things change, others stay the same. Alumni will return to campus for homecoming and reunion weekends. And they'll still gather for regional events and athletics pregame festivities. But now we have a new means of engaging them in an intentional way that takes advantage of their particular expertise. We are confident this alignment of alumni relations and career services will continue to provide rewarding opportunities for both students and graduates.

SUBMITTED BY Kristin Woods, assistant vice president for alumni and career services, University of Richmond, Virginia

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New Budgeting System Replaces Status Quo

With zero-based budgeting, you can't always get everything you want," said Steven Boyd, purchasing and contract director at Colorado Mountain College, Glenwood Springs. But, the college had been using incremental budgeting for a number of years, and, he said, "that encourages spending all the way to the budget. There's no incentive to reduce costs."

Along with Linda English, chief financial officer, and Mary Lehrman, budget and finance manager, Boyd presented "Zero-Based Budgeting: Linking Expenditures to Strategic Goals" at the NACUBO 2011 Annual Meeting. It was a case for moving to a process in which budget officers "start fresh" every year to review historical data against current goals and develop a budget request.

Why do it? Presenters found the following reasons for adopting zero-based budgeting:

  • Produces fairness and equity of allocation across departments and campuses.
  • Aligns spending with the strategic plan.
  • Makes budget officers more aware of budgeting details by using a standardized format.
  • Creates transparency.
  • Makes the best use of taxpayer dollars.

Despite initial resistance on the part of about half of the budget officers, said English, "starting from scratch forced people to be very specific about requests and think twice about wants versus needs. Some realized that they needed to spend more wisely and to collaborate more for bigger gains."

SUBMITTED BY Carole Schweitzer, senior editor, Business Officer 

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The Same as Before, But More

Managing benefits in an era of health-care reform requires the same attention to cost reduction that institutions have been seeking for the past decade, according to Brad Kimler, executive vice president of benefits consulting for Fidelity Investments. The primary difference is the need to go even deeper with efficiency strategies.

In the annual meeting session "Making Strategic Decisions in a New Era of Health-Care Reform," Kimler, along with Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president of administration for Duke University, identified approaches institutions can explore to mitigate costs and risk no matter how health-care legislation unfolds in the coming years.

One underlying premise: Gone are the days of viewing employee benefits as a means to create a lifetime sense of security for employees to ensure their orderly transition into retirement. The new approach is all about prioritizing what you can and should offer and restructuring programs to get the biggest benefit for your buck.

Specific areas to explore for cost savings for employers and employees alike include the introduction of health spending accounts and higher-deductible plans; a keener focus on disease prevention, health improvement, and claims reduction; and much better management of pharmacy benefits. What must help drive decisions in each of these areas going forward is more robust data about program beneficiaries and their benefits use, notes Cavanaugh.

SUBMITTED BY Karla Hignite, Universal City, Texas, contributing editor, Business Officer

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