BGSU Opportunity Assessment
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Opportunity Assessment?
The University has contracted with Accenture, a worldwide management-consulting firm with extensive experience in higher education, to help us identify opportunities to develop a new, more efficient organizational design that helps us achieve large-scale cost reductions without jeopardizing our core mission.
The project has two primary objectives:
- Evaluate the current state of the University's operating structure.
- Identify and recommend measurable, attainable, and realistic opportunities to streamline operations both in the short term and the long term.
Why are cost reductions needed?
The current operating model for BGSU and much of higher education is unsustainable. Support from the State of Ohio is declining. With student debt on the rise we cannot continue to cover our costs with tuition increases. Over the next 2-3 years we anticipate a significant budget shortfall.
How big of a budget shortfall is BGSU facing?
We currently estimate a shortfall of $3 million to $10 million over the next 2-3 years.
How will the University close the budget shortfall?
Ideally, the shortfall will be covered by a combination of generating new revenue and reducing expenses.
Why is the estimate of the budget shortfall so broad?
The broad estimate is due to a number of unknowns including: Fiscal Year 2015 funding from the state, changes in enrollment, and changes in student retention.
When will the University have a better idea of the amount of the budget shortfall?
Finance and Administration will be revising the estimates throughout the fall semester as more information becomes available. We'll have a better idea at the end of the calendar year, but likely won't know the final amount of state funding we will be receiving until late spring or early summer of 2014.
Why does the University need Accenture? Why can't the University use internal expertise to conduct this assessment?
Over the last five years, the University has made significant progress in reducing operating costs, by more than $25 million. Our Educational and General budget (unrestricted operating) is $20 million less in the current fiscal year than it was in fiscal year 2009. Given the amount of reductions we already achieved, identifying additional opportunities for savings is going to be much more difficult. That is why the University has secured outside assistance. Accenture specializes in this type of work.
Does Accenture have experience working with higher education?
Yes. Accenture has worked with over 60 higher educational institutions in over 28 states in the U.S, often to complete similar assessments (see list below). The company has over 200 professionals specializing in higher education. Their team recognizes the uniqueness of the higher education environment compared to for-profit companies. They understand what kind of operational recommendations will be successful in higher education.
Is Accenture familiar with BGSU and its operations?
Yes. In 2010, Accenture completed a review of all state colleges and universities in Ohio with the Inter-University Council of Ohio. This review looked for opportunities for shared services and joint purchasing among the institutions. Accenture is familiar with BGSU from that process, which is one of the reasons they were selected.
Is the assessment likely to result in layoffs at the University?
It is too early to speculate on the recommendations or the outcomes of the assessment. If staff reductions are warranted, it is our hope that this can be accomplished through attrition (retirements and people leaving for other opportunities) rather than layoffs.
How long will the project take?
An initial report and recommendations from Accenture are expected in December of 2013.
Who will decide which recommendations will be implemented?
The president and her leadership team will determine which of the recommendations make sense for BGSU after consulting with the University's constituent groups.
Who will be involved in implementing Accenture's recommendations?
It is too soon to know what recommendations will be made in Accenture's report so it's a little difficult to predict. However, based on observations at other schools, the nature of the recommendations will drive the working groups or committees that will be formed to work on implementing specific goals.
What kinds of opportunities were discovered at other universities that did this?
While it is too early to speculate on what opportunities might be discovered at BGSU, similar assessments at other universities, have found efficiencies in business processes, policies, and the physical infrastructure of administrative functions, IT, facilities, and other services.