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Higher ed has needed a more sustainable business model for a long while now. Add in 2020’s global health crisis and its ensuing concerns, and many institutions are now in crisis mode.

What happens to fall fiscal planning in a year of unprecedented challenges? And how should institutions seek to respond?

rpk’s Rick Staisloff and Tammy Kolbe, associate professor of educational leadership and policy students at the University of Vermont, sought to answer this question in an op-ed for Inside Higher Ed.

After a spring of unforeseen upheaval due to the coronavirus pandemic, a set of complex dominoes began to descend for college and university leaders. State revenues and enrollment numbers were projected to drop, while costs were expected to increase, as alternative teaching modalities needed to be explored and precautionary measures had to be taken in the case of onsite instruction.

In a time of already-strained budgets, these circumstances threaten the existence of many institutions across the United States.

Staisloff and Kolbe highlight the common missteps they see systems and institutions taking, and explore viable solutions to these issues. The new strategic finance framework they propose can help guide decisions about both how to cut and invest in higher education.

“It is time to recognize that past practices for allocating resources and balancing budgets no longer fit with contemporary reality. A new strategic finance framework is needed to guide decisions about both how to cut and invest in higher education.”

Read their full op-ed in Inside Higher Ed here.


rpk GROUP is a leading voice in the creation of new business models and effective growth strategies for higher education. Follow us on Twitter: @rpk_GROUP