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The Economic Models Project Journey

The Economic Models Project Journey is a tool 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.

Is your institution’s economic model sustainable?

To continue their critical work to expand and enhance student opportunity and success, colleges and universities require sound economic models, but the journey toward toward a more secure financial foundation is not an easy one. Taking the initiative to examine long-standing economic models requires strong leadership. NACUBO is pleased to present this website for use by college and university business officers, presidents, provosts, governing boards, and other stakeholders engaging in the difficult work of structural and cultural change within higher education. This website is designed to encourage higher education communities to strategically assess where they are, where they want or need to go, and how to begin to get there. Let’s get started.

What is a sustainable economic model?

The economic model of a college or university and its financial sustainability is the result of decisions made about its mission, structure, strengths, and resources. It is the product of all the activities and functions, inputs and outputs of the organization.

What will higher education look like in 25 years?

One thing is certain: For the large majority of NACUBO members, higher education will look significantly different than it does today. There are myriad questions that will challenge boards, college presidents, provosts and chief business officers for the foreseeable future. For example:

Sample Questions

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Where Do We Begin?

The journey guides the user through the 4 key areas of the business model:

  1. Mission
  2. Structure
  3. Strengths
  4. Resources
Begin the Journey Here


The Journey's guidance offers suggestions about how college and university leaders can set the stage for change, and provides metrics that they can use to monitor and evaluate progress.

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Related Content

Economic Models Project

Explore a tool created to help college and university leaders engage in critical discussions about current and future economic models.

Resource Library

Explore selection of articles, books, podcasts, reports, research papers, and toolkits.

Taking the Next Steps

We’ve identified key strategic questions related to our college or university’s economic model, now what?