THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN is sweeping the nation, affecting nearly everything and everyone. Financial aid is no different. The shaky economy has sparked several trends threatening to place unprecedented strains on financial aid programs and budgets.
Of all the fallout from the new IRS 403(b) regulations, probably the most important and pressing decision the regulations created for not-for-profit plan sponsors is how many active service provider relationships they want to have. The argument has been framed as a choice between exclusive single vendor relationships versus multiple vendor relationships. While plan sponsors struggle over this decision and examine the relative merits of both arrangements, plan providers are actively lobbying for an outcome that aligns best with their own solutions.
THE WORLD’S FINANCIAL markets spent the latter part of 2008 in an unprecedented state of volatility. Pictures of frazzled and depressed traders became one of the worst clichés in the news because they seemed to run every day.
A USA TODAY HEADLINE states, “Tuition Hikes Will Ease.” The article opens, “The price tag for college tuition is continuing to climb this year, but experts are predicting less sticker shock than in the past two years.”
THESE ARE UNCERTAIN ECONOMIC TIMES, to be sure. When the stock market can both take its largest point plunge and post its largest gain within the space of a week, the term “rollercoaster economy” seems a gross understatement. But there are some industries that are usually seen as recession proof, and education is one of them.
WE ALL SAW IT COMING--THE proverbial handwriting was on the wall. One would have had to be clueless to miss the energy crunch coming down the pipeline, with the cost of gasoline topping $4 per gallon, Northeastern states experiencing a rolling brownout, and families opting to remain at home on “staycations” this past summer. Indeed, with preowned hybrid Toyota Prius cars rarer than hen’s teeth, and with 33,000 signing up for GM’s new electric chariot—the Chevy Volt—the tree-hugging granola folks were not the only ones who felt the pinch on our natural resources last summer.
America is facing a challenging time. With a weakened economy and limited resources, businesses — regardless of size and industry — need to ensure they are maintaining a positive cash flow. And higher educational institutions are not immune.