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SACUBO Meeting Keynote Speaker Discusses Issues Facing Higher Education

Last month, Jim Ratchford, Industry Leader of Cherry Bekaert’s Education Industry Group, attended the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers’ (“SACUBO”) Annual Meeting. While at the meeting Ratchford listened to the keynote speech from Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Education. Mr. Jaschik shared with attendees various issues currently facing higher education, some of which included the following:

  • The Trump administration is proposing cuts to education programs, including research and work study.
  • International students are choosing higher institutions in countries other than the U.S. Forty (40) percent of U.S. colleges and universities are reporting declines in international applications. Everyone realizes that these students are typically “full pay,” and are very profitable for the schools that enroll them.
  • There seems to be a devaluing of government institutions, which impacts lawmakers’ willingness to support public education.
  • The Trump administration talks less regulation, while concurrently floating ideas such as endowment regulations and limits on college president compensation.
  • New higher education models are challenging the industry. Purdue’s purchase of Kaplan, Georgia Tech’s MOOC-inspired master’s model in computer science and micro-masters programs by MIT and others could be threatening the traditional campus-based economic model.
  • The “tuition-dependent” at model “not well-endowed” institutions is increasingly harder and harder to sustain. Shut downs and mergers of these institutions are also increasing.
  • Discounting is out of control. The national first-year freshmen discount rate at private colleges is 48 percent, up from 28 percent a decade ago. Rising discount rates versus diminishing returns is a red flag to financial viability.
  • There are increased expectations of institutions, such as science labs, interdisciplinary studies, student services, etc.

If your college or university is looking to address these issues, Cherry Bekaert can help.  Contact a member of our Education group today.



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