MARYSVILLE, CA, September 10, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- America's colleges and universities face significant funding and finance obstacles and Al Alt
is the first to admit it. With more students questioning the necessity for an advanced degree and higher tuition costs coupled with increasing interest rates on student loans, it is becoming harder for some to justify the cost.
A recent article
by the Portland Business Journal analyzed Moody's report on public and private colleges and universities. Moody's indicated that flat enrollment rates and declining revenues are plaguing the nation's institutions of higher learning.
The article reads, "Median revenue growth at public universities slowed to 1.7 percent in fiscal 2012, down from 4.8 percent in fiscal 2011. Roughly one-third of private universities reported tuition growth below inflation. Moody's said investment returns will likely buffer colleges and universities in 2013, but questions about costs and new modes of instruction, like free online courses, will continue to hamper long-term growth."
Universities have to consider ways to make tuition dollars count. As students demand quality educations that will lead to job prospects, universities are tasked with the dilemma of how to achieve much with little. Al Alt knows financing university systems is a difficult task but these institutions are going to have to get creative in their solutions.
"The days of traditional financing are over," he said. "We can't continue to hike tuition and expect students to attend. In a constrained job market and lagging economy, many students turn to colleges and universities for job training. However, with the economy and job market improving, students are deciding that a degree beyond a high school diploma is not worth the expense and debt they will incur. Changing their minds is our challenge."
Former theories of college and university financing called for reductions in programs and services furthest from the classroom. However, these are also the very programs and services that ensure student success in at-risk populations, those that are first generation students, English Language Learners and low income suffered from reduction of necessary services.
Flagship universities have to learn to leverage their brands and create alternative streams of revenue to ensure that we provide strong, viable academic programs along with the critical support services that our at-risk populations need to ensure student success.
Embracing online technologies and finding ways to earn money from online courses and other ventures is essential if universities and university systems are going to survive and thrive.
Universities also need to find a way to tap into generations of alumni for capital expenditures and fundraising. Following successful kickstarter campaigns, universities can generate needed funds by creating excitement around the things they are doing. Universities must also find ways to leverage public-public partnerships as well as private-public partnerships.
"Town gown relationships are not a new concept. However, in the new economy, we must leverage new relationships and new funding concepts to continue to be viable institutions. I believe that universities and school systems can survive if they are willing to throw away the rule book and are creative with our approach. We must always be conscious of the use of public dollars but must identify new funding streams."
Moody's report indicated that public universities will continue to see revenue streams diminish as affordability concerns loom. The company rates 283 not-for-profit private universities with nearly $87 billion in debt outstanding and 228 U.S. four-year public universities with $235.9 billion in outstanding debt. Al Alt believes debt challenges must be alleviated for a positive future to be had.
is a business professional with over a dozen years in education administration. He has experience in finance, administration, risk management, human resources and school facilities planning/construction. Much of his recent career has been devoted to assisting school districts and collegiate systems with finances and construction efforts. He is a dedicated administrator and manager who cares about helping students have the right environments in which to learn. He holds a doctorate in higher education leadership and management and a master's degree in business administration. He has teaching experience at both the community college and university level. A committed member of his community, Alt is a member of Rotary International.