4 Strategies Higher Education Institutions Can Use to Lower Costs

Mike Maxwell
Read time: 3 mins
4 Strategies Higher Education Institutions Can Use to Lower Costs

The education sector is in a tough spot. Enrollment is still suffering from the impact of the pandemic, while inflation is still high, and interest rates continue to rise. Institutions are not only operating on tighter budgets but competing for potential students with an ever-shrinking enrollment pool. To adapt to this shifting landscape, institutions need to implement innovative strategies that promote cost reduction and enhance operational efficiency.

Here, we’ll discuss four strategies to help higher education institutions minimize the impact of these economic pressures while maintaining their commitment to delivering quality education.

Strategies for reducing costs and enhancing efficiency

With the right tools, the following strategies can be implemented by institutions of any size.

1. Streamline procurement processes

Efficient procurement processes can significantly reduce costs for higher education institutions. By embracing digital transformation and leveraging spend management platforms, institutions can:

  • Automate the requisition process.
  • Gain real-time insights into spending patterns.
  • Identify savings opportunities.
  • Ensure that a diverse set of end-users is complying with pre-negotiated contracts to enable better terms and prices.

This means every department — from athletics to student services — is buying from one, centralized place. Institutions then have greater control and visibility into spend, helping them make more informed financial decisions.

The automation of procurement processes also reduces manual tasks, lowers error rates, and streamlines the approval process — freeing financial departments to focus on more strategic work.

2. Help teams and departments work better together

Breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration between different departments can lead to better resource allocation, cost savings, and overall institutional efficiency. For example, empower teachers, researchers, and administrators across departments to easily pool and maximize spend by enabling group carts during the procurement process.

The savings from this synergy enables schools to prioritize initiatives that bring the biggest impact, like investing in a new Student Information System to improve enrollment efforts.

3. Make data a part of every decision

Data analytics can play a crucial role in shaping the health of higher education institutions’ finances. A platform that aggregates and analyzes spending data across every department can automatically surface saving opportunities otherwise hidden. By leveraging these data insights, institutions can strategically allocate resources, optimize budgets, and navigate economic challenges more effectively.

Institutions can uncover even more savings through community-powered insights. Spend software, like Coupa’s, uses hard data based on more than $4 trillion of real spend transactions from around the world to help institutions benchmark their operational efficiency and see areas for improvement.

4. Prioritize sustainability

Focusing on sustainability initiatives can lead to both cost savings and a reduced environmental impact. By streamlining procurement processes, promoting responsible sourcing, and minimizing waste, higher education institutions can achieve cost savings while also contributing to a greener future.

In today’s ever-changing business environment, you need to contain costs with precision rather than cutting costs broadly.

Show Me How to Contain Costs in Uncertain Times

Using the right tools

Higher education institutions need the right spend management tools to achieve these strategies. With Coupa’s modern and easy-to-use cloud platform, institutions can do just that. Gain real-time insights to optimize spend, automate time-consuming paper processing, more effectively engage diverse suppliers, and so much more. When institutions know exactly where and how they’re spending, they can make smarter financial decisions to help them navigate these challenging times.

Benchmark your current spend management processes against leading higher education institutions.

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