In today’s highly competitive climate, colleges, universities, private schools, and other educational institutions need help to attract and retain students and to increase their financial well-being. Education consulting firms provide the experience, expertise, and objective perspective needed to help schools operate more efficiently, reduce unnecessary costs, increase revenue streams, improve student retention, and develop data-driven strategic plans for the future.
What Do Higher Education Consulting Firms Do?
A higher education consulting firm provides customized solutions to the challenges that educational institutions face. Every school has its own unique set of problems it must deal with to increase the satisfaction of students, faculty, and staff, while putting the institution on a firm financial footing. Consulting firms have the in-depth experience and flexibility needed to find the right solutions to the problems at hand as well as providing guidance to help ensure the school will continue to thrive going forward into the future.
In addition to addressing financial efficiency and stability, college consulting firms deal with issues such as institutional growth, student and faculty retention, and campus safety. They identify specific operations that could be improved and work closely with school administrators to produce custom business solutions that get optimal results.
Consultants base their recommendations on extensive research. Team members from an education consulting firm start by gathering data. They may interview administrators, students, and faculty, collect information from surveys, or use other data-gathering tools. The data then guides the team in pinpointing the areas that need to be improved. The team will continue to collect and analyze data to inform its recommendations and final report.
How a Higher Education Consulting Firm Helps Reduce Unnecessary Costs
Procedures often remain in place without review for years even after they have become outdated. Unexamined procedures and contractual agreements are like holes that money can fall through. Yet, they are often taken for granted. People get used to the way things are done. That’s why bringing in an outside college consulting firm is so important. Consultants can identify problem areas that insiders may not have even noticed because they are such a familiar part of the institution.
Consultants bring a fresh eye to your school’s operations. They also bring tremendous skill and experience in finance, operations, data gathering and analysis, and strategic planning.
Contract Negotiations: Higher education institutions often pay too much for their contracted goods and services. Contracts that may have been negotiated years ago with third-party vendors often don’t get a second look. Consulting firm team members have the experience and expertise with educational contracts to identify areas of wasteful spending and renegotiate contracts on your behalf to get you a better price.
Food Services: The food provided in campus dining, is an important part of your campus’ quality of life. At the same time, it is often a source of wasteful expenses. A college consulting firm can analyze the current costs of the dining program and provide recommendations and options to drive down unnecessary expenses and/or solutions to enhance the program to increase sales and student satisfaction. While seeking to optimize costs, consultants also emphasize the quality and appeal of the food service. Improvements can provide new revenue streams by attracting more students, faculty, staff, and visitors to purchase meal plans or individual meals.
Custodial and Grounds Services Waste Disposal Services: Keeping classrooms, offices, and grounds clean and safe disposing of waste is a critical part of campus management. It is also often an area where costs are higher than necessary. Consultants can analyze all aspects of your current operations and make recommendations for increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
Security Services: Security services are an essential part of campus operations, needed to ensure the safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors, and to protect against theft. At the same time, campuses often overpay for security by hiring or contracting for more personnel than are needed and by relying on outdated technology. Upgrading security systems can also help reduce costs. Education consultants can analyze your campus’s operations to find the optimal and most cost-effective security systems for your needs.
Purchasing: A school’s procurement and purchasing procedures often generate unnecessary spending. Significant savings can be realized by centralizing purchasing operations in a single department. Benefits include pre-approved bidding procedures, school-wide consistency, and volume discounts, which enable the school to obtain higher-quality products at a lower price. If an educational institution has not yet implemented centralized purchasing, a higher education consulting team will provide the expertise, research, and guidance needed for a successful launch.
Facilities Management: Significant cost savings can be generated by improving the efficiency of your facilities operations. Education consultants can analyze your operations and identify areas of savings. They can provide research-driven advice on how best to maintain, upgrade, buy, or increase the life expectancy of your campus sell your campus assets and identify ways to optimize costs for on-going expenses such as utilities.
Administrative and Staff Efficiency: Established staff and office procedures may not be the most cost-effective, but they often become entrenched over time. Education consultants offer a fresh perspective based on an objective assessment of the systems currently in place. They may find procedures that could be improved to yield significant cost savings. Streamlining workflow, changing the physical layout of offices, training in Lean Six Sigma, identifying and implementing best practices, and increasing employee engagement can all increase efficiency, boost productivity, and trim unnecessary expenses.
How a Higher Education Consulting Firm Helps Schools Identify Financial Opportunities
In addition to helping institutions increase their bottom line by reducing expenses, a college consulting firm can also help you increase income by finding new revenue streams and increasing existing ones. There are many options for increasing revenue. Consultants can help you implement the ones most appropriate for your institution, drawing on their experience with best practices in higher education institutions. Revenue-generating options that have proven successful for many schools include starting or growing corporate training programs, selling surplus materials, and adding online crowdfunding to fundraising campaigns. Reaching out to local industry can provide previously untapped sources of income. For example, schools with filmmaking facilities could rent them to local production companies. Some schools operate businesses, such as hotels, both to give their students work experience and to make money for the school.
Education consultants also use their financial expertise to advise institutions on how to optimize the income and growth from their investments and how to improve the life cycle of their assets.
How a Higher Education Consulting Firm Can Impact Student Retention
Colleges and other institutions of higher education are having to compete more to attract and retain the best students. This trend will become even more significant in the future. The birthrate in the U.S. dropped after the financial crisis starting around 2008. That lower birthrate means there will be fewer students of college age in the near future. In fact, the college-age population in the U.S. is projected to drop by about 15 percent in the next five to ten years. Higher education institutions will have to put even more emphasis on improving the student experience to keep their students from dropping out or transferring to another school. The time to start planning is right now. This is not something that can be put off. The stakes are too high.
Higher education consultants use a research-driven approach to improve student satisfaction. They identify unmet or partially met needs and recommend strategies that will help students succeed and increase student engagement. Experienced education consultants have a deep knowledge of what the best practices are to improve the student experience
Why Soriant Solutions Is the Right Choice
At Soriant Solutions, we are dedicated to providing the best customized higher education consulting services in the support services arena to meet your institution’s specific needs. We provide unique solutions. Our team members have the vision to be able to walk in your shoes and see your challenges the way you see them. We start by learning about what you wish to provide and by understanding the people you serve.
Our experience working with hundreds of different facilities has given us a broad and deep exposure to solutions to the wide range of problems being dealt with today. We use advanced research, data-collection, and analysis tools to produce recommendations that will stand the test of time.
You know the pressures your institution is under. Soriant Solutions is here to help. We believe that change is an opportunity. We are a national company and can help in any state. Give us a call at 770-777-6633 or contact us via our website. We will be glad to talk to you about what we have done for higher education institutions around the country and what we can do for you.