Tuition fees and living expenses prevent a significant number of students from attending or completing their college education. Consequently, some families will remain trapped in the cycle of poverty, and this is because the kind of education which might have enabled their children to earn a decent living is inaccessible to them (Deming & Walters, 2017). Lakeland University can embrace its corporate social responsibility by implementing policies that reduce the cost of acquiring a degree. This would enable the bright but needy students to lay a firm foundation for success in life (Rosen & Sappington, 2019). The institution can achieve this goal if it secures additional endowments, solicit alumni’s support through a scholarship fund, establish an efficient feedback mechanism, and establish a culture of merit.
Increasing the Amount of College Endowment
College endowments (also called donations) are one of the sources of funds that could be used to facilitate fee reduction. A college with a sizeable bequest has the means to give out noteworthy financial aid. Lakeland University’s endowment figure stands at $17.7 million, and this is significantly limited (Rosen & Sappington, 2019). Moreover, some donors dictate how their contribution must be spent, and, therefore, it is unlikely for a university to have as many donations towards scholarships as it would be required. Benefactors wish to see their money being spent on causes they consider to be worthwhile (Deming & Walters, 2017). It is common to find someone who benefitted from a scholarship program donating to a fund that supports such a cause.
For endowments with no strings attached, the university administrators decide how to use and invest them. For the amount that is invested, the fund’s manager should maximize the returns so that the percentage which is available for scholarships can also increase. The potential of a university to support its students is determined by a figure known as endowment-per-student (Deming & Walters, 2017). Lakeland University has $4,455 while Harvard University has $1,998,092 per student (Archibald & Feldman, 2018). Supposing that they both earn 5% a year, Lakeland University would make only $223 while Harvard would have $99,905 at the same rate of return (Rosen & Sappington, 2019). That is significant as Harvard may fully subsidize tuition without incurring a loss.
Students attending colleges with a considerable amount of endowment stand a better chance of securing scholarships than those joining institutions with limited amounts of donations. Lakeland University would be faced with financial difficulties if a significant number of students are awarded tuition scholarships. To remedy this situation, the university governing body should consult a competent and experienced team of professionals (Rosen & Sappington, 2019). These experts can advise on how to increase the number of donations as well as on ways to increase returns on investment.
Support by the Alumni
Lakeland University may encourage the alumni to support it in raising funds. Such institutions as Georgetown University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and Princeton University have strong alumni networks (Archibald & Feldman, 2018). Their past students hold them in high regard, and they are effective goodwill ambassadors of their former schools (Deming & Walters, 2017). Lakeland University’s alumni should be given the chance to give back to their alma mater like those of several other successful institutions are doing.
An alumni association is supposed to foster loyalty as well as promote the welfare of the institution. Towards this end, Lakeland University should have a strong team of former students who are dedicated to supporting its goals. The university administration should ponder ways of imbuing the willingness and enthusiasm so that individuals can participate. The latter must also be ready to contribute their time and resources to the benefit of the current students, and especially the needy and bright ones.
Besides supporting the university’s agenda, the alumni should also be encouraged to set up an independent scholarship fund. While not every student attending Lakeland University would be having financial challenges, there could be bright students who may not make it through college without fees subsidies. The university has limited resources as well as competing needs (Deming & Walters, 2017). Therefore, opening a new front via which support can be facilitated would go a long way in increasing the number of graduates who would otherwise drop out.
Establishing a Feedback Mechanism
The management of Lakeland University must establish an appropriate feedback mechanism that would enable the primary stakeholders to share their views on how cost-effectiveness can be achieved. By eliminating waste, the college would have the opportunity to reduce the amounts that students pay in fees. Nonetheless, the institution is currently suffering from miscommunication as well as frequent changes in managerial structures (Archibald & Feldman, 2018). There is also a high turnover rate among the leaders, and some of the staff members argue that they do not even know their superiors (Rosen & Sappington, 2019). Consequently, it is challenging to share important ideas on how efficiency can be achieved.
Feedback motivates the stakeholders to enhance their abilities and improve their performance. Deming and Walters (2017) argue that by communicating with various categories of employees, the management ends up understanding issues from varied perspectives. Areas, where costs can be cut, are identified and explored with relative ease. Lakeland University would mitigate wastage of resources, and this advantage could be extended to students by having their fees notably reduced.
Establishing a Culture of Merit While Nurturing the Alumni of the Future
The alumni network is constituted of the students who have graduated and are currently engaged in gainful employment. Lakeland University must be keen on selecting its future partners and supporters from a current lot of applicants without necessarily focusing on their current financial capability. The scholarship opportunities available at the moment should be awarded on merit, and, hence, be informed by academic and artistic abilities, as well as by leadership qualities (Rosen & Sappington, 2019). This is a strategy to nurture individuals with the highest probability to become successful.
Merit scholarships are an effective way of enhancing the reputation of a university. They are inducements for students to work hard, and this ultimately catapults them into successful careers. These individuals end up changing the world in a positive way because they are passionate and hardworking (Deming & Walters, 2017). If Lakeland University is to be associated with such partners in the future, it must invest in them today. The institution would ultimately benefit from not just their donations but also their ideas as well (Archibald & Feldman, 2018). The prospective change agents can come up with multiple ways through which fees can be made affordable.
Lakeland University should do its part in ensuring that bright students have the opportunity to earn a degree. It should find the means of increasing its endowment fund and partnering with the alumni. These former students should specifically be encouraged to set-up an independent scholarship fund to aid the current students. The institution should also implement an effective feedback mechanism to enable the primary stakeholders to be part of the effort to reduce the cost students must pay. As a way to invest into its future, the university should embrace and nurture a culture of merit. Investing in those who have the highest chance to excel means that Lakeland University will ultimately have partners who can support it as it tries to keep fees within manageable limits.
Archibald, R. B., & Feldman, D. H. (2018). Drivers of the rising price of a college education. Midwestern Higher Education Compact. Web.
Deming, D. J., & Walters, C. R. (2017). The impact of price caps and spending cuts on U.S. postsecondary attainment [PDF document]. Web.
Rosen, H. S., & Sappington, A. J. W. (2019). The impact of endowment shocks on payouts. Journal of Higher Education, 90(5), 690-716. Web.