How to Make a Lasting Impact With Your Campuses Budget Surplus

Most Universities around the country are working on finalizing budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. We came across a post in a student affairs professional group on Facebook that we thought was interesting and timely.

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Check out the whole conversation here.

So what should you do with that budget surplus?

Don’t Think Short Term

It’s easy to get a bit impulsive when you have some extra money burning a hole in your “pocket”. Try not to splurge on ephemeral purchases. Most people will aim for something flashy and most times really unnecessary. We have developed a short list ideas of things you should steer clear of purchasing.

Steer Clear of:

1) Bulk orders of “swag”

You don’t need 5,000 mini Frisbees and hundreds of t-shirts that will become obsolete in a months time. Escape the grips of those promo companies.

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2) Office supplies

Unless people are clawing and biting each other for the last paperclip, try not to splurge on an office depot-shopping spree. This usually results in folks using too much paper and smuggling pens out of the office. Also, things are bound to break.

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3) Unneeded Electronics

Yes a laptop can prove to be useful but if there isn’t a checkout system one person usually hogs the new Macbook. Last thing you want is this to become a personal computer. Again there is a chance of things breaking.

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Things you could do:

1) Grant Programs

Setting aside money for a student grant programs is a great way to jump start student initiatives that could make an impact on campus immediately.

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2) Training Materials

Professional development opportunities such as webinars, conferences, guest speakers and training material can help improve campus leaders throughout student organizations and members of administration.

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3) Capital Items

Buying equipment that you usually have to borrow from other departments such as Go Pros, Tripods, Speakers, or any other AV equipment that makes for bigger and better events is always a smart investment.

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Think Long Term

Making a lasting impact on your campus should be your goal with whatever you decide to spend your budget surplus on. A surplus is a blessing try not to waste it! Student management software is a great way to make that long-term impact on your campus. Software like Check I’m Here helps student organizations and campus administration better track, manage, assess, and engage students. We provide real-time data and business intelligence that can help universities make informed decisions of whether there efforts to increase retention, engagement, and allocate funds are proving to be effective. published an article on the Top 7 Trends CRM (customer or Constituent relationship management) back in 2013. Todd Gibby, president of Hobsons’ higher education division had a quote that we found interesting:

“The first few years [of CRM use] were about functionally managing your campus. The next five years will be about actually turning that information into business intelligence to make better institutional decisions, especially as campuses face the need to simultaneously increase student enrollment and reduce student-recruitment costs.”

Campuses all over have been adapting to the data culture we are currently living in. Montgomery County Community College has received high praise for the last three years from the Center for Digital Education and Converge Online. In 2010 MCCC received an A+, the highest grade possible, in the 2010 national Digital Community Colleges Survey administered by the Center for Digital Education and Converge Online.

According to the recently posted article, Using Technology to Impact Student Retention at Montgomery County Community College, President Karen A. Stout attributed the institutions success to its use of similar technology.

“The college’s data-informed decision making is essential for continuous improvement because, unless you have a system-wide structure that collects data, analyzes it, and makes adjustments on a routine basis, you really don’t know if you’re achieving your mission. By adapting national best practices, we are constantly assessing ourselves, always trying to make our student outcomes better using technology as a tool to focus on teaching and learning.”

The cost of the student engagement software is quickly reimbursed in the form of retention and student enrollment. Implementing technology that promotes cross-institution collaboration is a great way to improve student engagement. Showing your ability to allocate additional funding in meaningful and lasting ways, may even warrant extra funding in the future.

Have any ideas of ways to make a lasting impact on your campus? Leave us a comment below!


Anthony Freese

About the author: Anthony Freese is the former Director of Marketing at Check I’m Here, the complete student engagement platform. Learn how we can help get your students involved.

Check I'm Here is now Presence. Learn more about this change in our blog post here.