NACUBO developed a tool, the Economic Models Project Journey, to assist chief business officers and other college and university leaders in engaging in the critical, and sometimes difficult, discussions at their institutions about their current and future economic models. Key to these discussions is understanding that all functions and activities, all inputs and outputs, of an organization contribute to its financial well-being. Thus, discussions about financial sustainability are not limited to the business office or accounting function; they must include all aspects and cross all silos of the college or university.
If your institution would like assistance in implementing the Economic Models Project Journey, please contact NACUBO Consulting.
NACUBO developed this tool to assist colleges and universities in developing their own paths to financial sustainability. The tool does not propose any one solution nor a simple checklist for institutions. Rather, we believe that the unique attributes of colleges and universities in the United States are one of the industry’s strengths.
In 2014, recognizing that the financial sustainability of colleges and universities was challenged by internal and external forces, the NACUBO Board of Directors commissioned the Economic Models Project. They realized that reductions in public funding and endowment returns, changing demographics, and increasing cynicism about the value of higher education, coupled with reliance on traditional missions and structures, required institutions to actively engage in examination of their existing business models and envision new ones.
Hundreds of college and university leaders contributed to the development of this project. Particular acknowledgment is due to the TIAA Institute for its support of related research on academic productivity and to the following individuals who served as project advisors: Jacalyn Askin, Bryan Alexander, Maria Anguiano, Audrey Bilger, Mike Gower, Teresa Hardee, Barbara Larson, Devorah Lieberman, Beth Paul, Beth Reissenweber, Sue Perkins, Gary Rhoades, Bob Shea, Vernon Smith, Howard Teibel, and Lynn Valenter.