Lower Higher Ed Costs By Upping Business Process Efficiency
America’s students are drowning in college debt, and it seems that each year, tuition rises even more. This has led many Millennials to full-time school plus two jobs and, sometimes, a side hustle on top just to stay afloat.
Combined, American students owe more than $1.5 trillion in student debt and pay it off on average in 20 years. And it’s not just a select few—1 in 4 Americans have college debt, and the average monthly payments are nearly equal to rent for an apartment in many areas in the US.
In a time when it seems everyone has a college degreeand many graduates are overqualified for the jobsavailable to them, why are we still seeing such astonishing financial burdens on the students of America, and how can colleges reduce costs before the problem spirals even further out of control?
Cut Higher Ed Costs With Better Technology & Business Processes
Unlike in some countries, higher education in the US is a business. It stands to reason then, that the same things that apply to other businesses to enable them to work smarter, more efficiently, and for lower costs should translate to the higher education system.
One method to reduce costs is to utilize technology to increase business process efficiency. Some types of processes that are useful when determining what to prioritize and restructure include: overall efficiency, labor productivity, resource efficiency, and throughput. Once a business has assessed its efficiency, then it is time to move forward with a business process plan which incorporates useful steps for a leaner, more resourceful business.
One area in which technology can be a great boon for businesses—higher education industry included—is with procurement software.This software allows for tight controls in spending with full approval functionality before the purchase order is sent out the door. All suppliers are accessible on one platform using one login and has the feel of online shopping, which allows for efficient purchasing and guaranteed user adoption. SAP Ariba™ Procurement software is the trusted source for the majority of Fortune Companies, ensuring the success of cost savings for the business of higher education.
Using cloud software and integrated solutions like SAP software can help with business process efficiency through searchability and sharing of relevant data, as well as the ability to keep large swathes of data—without paying to store it in-house—which can be used with analytics software.
Case Study: What Purdue’s Efficiency Means For Its Students
Purdue University has used its efficiency to cut costs for the school and, in turn, its students.
The university is currently on a six-soon to be seven-year tuition freeze. Mitch Daniels has specifically cited reducing procurement costs as part of the way to reclaim money for the university, and he expresses in no uncertain terms that the way the school prioritizes its students and their families as a major factor in how the cost-cutting has allowed it to continue its tuition freeze as well as offer last-dollar financial help—help with the costs of college after expected family contribution and income-based financial assistance programs.Purdue utilizes SAP Ariba software to help keep its procurement costs in check and its business processes lean.
Daniels himself has pointed out that many students “self-select” out of the school due to misconceptions that they will not be able to afford it, a statement that should call great attention to the student loan crisis at hand. If more colleges can utilize technology to make their business processes leaner, they might also see the growth that Purdue has had, all the while reducing the burden on their students and their families, leading to happier, healthier campuses and a nation who is qualified, and eager to learn, work, and provide for the future.