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The Kresge Foundation Funds Collaborative Proposal to Control College Costs

Tuesday, February 11, 2014  
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The Kresge Foundation has awarded Independent Colleges of Indiana a $240,000 grant.  The grant will support feasibility studies for collaborative cost-saving initiatives among ICI’s 31 member private colleges and universities.

Dubbed MAAC (Massive Aggregated Administrative Capacity), the project name is a play off the acronym MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), the fairly recent phenomenon of offering free online classes to thousands of students at a time.  In contrast, MAAC focuses on the administrative side of higher education, targeting areas like payroll and technology that every college must do but that don’t contribute to the institution’s unique identity and mission nor directly touch the student experience in the classroom or on campus.  In all, 12 feasibility studies are included in the MAAC grant and are slated to take place over the next 15 months.  The immediate goal is improved service and efficiency for institutions at a reduced cost.  The larger long-term goal is that these savings will help control college costs for students.

"Just as athletics have demonstrated that intercollegiate engagement through competition can enhance institutional strength,” says Richard L. Ludwick, ICI president & CEO, "MAAC proposes that intercollegiate engagement through collaboration can yield greater enhancements of institutional strength.  ICI and our member colleges and universities thank the Kresge Foundation for this opportunity to leverage resources to create a new way of doing business---a more efficient, more effective means of educating Americans to the world’s highest and most productive standards.”

As the oldest association of its type in the country, ICI has been working collaboratively with its member colleges and sister state associations for many years on cost-savings efforts, including penning the first two agreements ever by a private college consortium for cloud-based IT backups and co-founding with the Tennessee association the Coalition for College Cost Savings that now serves 31 consortia of private higher education and two million students.

Initial efforts of this type were primarily focused on group purchasing agreements---such as for office supplies or vehicle rentals---that have saved campuses significant dollars over the years.  However, the sharing of administrative processes and back-office operations in the Kresge Foundation grant maps the next frontier for these types of collaborations and is expected to produce a much higher rate of return.  Once established and tested, ICI will share the MAAC model with other private college associations across the nation, as well as other interested education organizations.

The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, work in the environment, health, human services and community development efforts in Detroit. Fostering greater access to and success in postsecondary education for low-income, minority and first-generation college students is the focus of Kresge’s education grantmaking.  For more information, visit kresge.org or follow @kresgedu.