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Modest Gains in Charitable Giving to Colleges

Colleges and universities experienced a modest rise in charitable donations last year. According to an annual report by the Council for Aid to Education, charitable giving to higher institutions in fiscal year 2016 increased from $40.3 billion to $41 billion (1.7 percent). Compared to the growth rate from 2014 to 2015 (7.6 percent), the increase was much less than expected. A significant drop in personal giving is being contributed to the flat growth rate. More on the Council for Aid to Education’s latest report is available at Inside Higher Ed.

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The Election’s Impact on Higher Education

Now that the 2016 presidential election is over, many higher education experts are wondering how a new administration and Congress will affect colleges and universities. Liz Clark, the director of federal affairs at the National Association of College and University Business Officers (“NACUBO”), recently shared her thoughts on what legislation could be enacted. Some of Clark’s insights discussed who the next Secretary of Education could be, how NACUBO is preparing for proposed higher education changes, and whether there will be changes to student financial aid. More on Clark’s election observations is available on the NACUBO website.

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Retired Professor Asks Universities to Seek Transformational Change

As the traditional university business model puts more institutions at risk of closing or consolidating, retired academic administrator Marcel Dumestre is asking faculty members and administrators to develop a more sustainable model. In his article “Overcoming the Heavy Weight of Tradition: A Practical Approach”, Dumestre suggests colleges and universities complete a “force field analysis” to shift their business model approach from incremental to transformational change. Such changes include revamping the organizational structure and business model, and being proactive to ensure strategies are executed to improve an institution for the better. The full article is available on the Academic Impressions website.

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Colleges Offering Digital Badges
to Students

More colleges are issuing digital badges as an alternate form of student credentials. Used as a supplement to degrees, the badges highlight skills and accomplishments that student transcripts do not capture. Badges for skills such as academic successes or volunteering efforts are intended to enhance traditional degrees, as well as help students with future employer and graduate school prospects. More on the digital badges is available on Inside Higher Ed.


FAFSA Changes Draw Mixed Responses

The Department of Education has announced that starting with the 2017-18 academic year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”) will be released months earlier and the application deadline will be pushed up to October 1. In addition to the new schedule, FAFSA applications will automatically use the most recent federal tax data, which is a shift from having applicants estimate their family’s income data. While higher education groups believe the FAFSA changes will lead to a more simplified financial aid process, college access advocates feel the earlier deadlines could make it difficult for low-income students to receive aid.. Read More.

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Chief Business Officers Believe Higher Education in a Financial Crisis

This year’s edition of Inside Higher Ed’s Survey of College and University Business Officers reflects a growing concern that higher education is in the midst of financial instability. Based on the responses from chief business officers at 386 institutions, 63 percent believe reports of a financial crisis accurately reflect the landscape of higher education. The number is a seven percent rise from last year’s survey. Additionally, 70 percent of chief business officers at public institutions believe there is a financial crisis, as opposed to 60 percent at private institutions. Read more about the 2016 Survey of College and University Business Officers at the Inside Higher Ed website.