The Business of Government
There are many new funding streams available for community colleges in light of the CARES Act, this edition of The Business of Government touches on compliance for these funds and the changing trends in programing discussed at the Community College Business Officers conference.
- Community colleges have access to new federal funding and understanding the compliance rules and regulations is critical
- Utilizing data and automation tools to make decisions is a primary focus for community college leaders looking to improve processes for their students
- Community college leaders are implementing creative and unique programs with their HEERF funding from increased technology to student retention programs
- Moving into the future, community colleges are focused on student retention and how to meet engagement goals in a post-pandemic economy
Dan Graves, CPA, Partner with Weaver's Risk Advisory Services team, and Rebecca Goldstein, CPA, Partner with Weaver’s Assurance Services team, returned from the recently held 2021 Community College Business Officers (CCBO), where they gave a joint presentation on grant compliance. They shared their experiences and insights from the conference with Adam Jones, Weaver’s State Government Practice Leader.
“The presentation Dan and I gave went through the whole gamut of the grant lifecycle,” Goldstein explained. “We started with what does the grant cycle look like, and emphasizing the need to think about compliance, not just at the beginning or end, but throughout the grant lifecycle.’”
There are many new funding sources available for community colleges due to COVID relief packages, therefore, Goldstein and Graves discussed the importance of understanding the different funding available in higher education and the compliance rules involved.
“Several topics at the conference were about the HEERF and CARES funding,” Graves said. “COVID relief funding was a big topic throughout the conference; with those dollars comes a lot of special new purchases and new things that colleges and universities typically do not purchase with grant funds.” One challenge for educators is to ensure they have the appropriate internal controls and reporting in place so they can appropriately track expenditures.
Another hot topic at the conference was the emergence of data automation and making data-driven decisions. “Community colleges are focused on using data-driven decisions through the enrollment process and the registration process to make sure they achieve educational outcomes,” Graves said. “On the operational side, we’re seeing some schools utilize artificial intelligence to generate automated workflows and better communication with students.”
Listen to the full episode to hear all of Goldstein and Grave’s insights.
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