Capturing Alternative Revenues

Strategic Lessons and Compendium of Tactics for Increasing Nontraditional Operating Revenue

Topics: Administration and Finance, Transportation and Parking, Auxiliary Enterprises, Space Utilization, Facilities and Operations, Revenue Enhancement, Alternative Revenues

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Executive Summary


No Silver Bullets for Increasing Revenue

Growing non-tuition revenue is a perennial focus for business leaders. Now, as some colleges and universities face slowing or flattening tuition revenue, and all institutions seek ways to better fund ambitious strategic priorities, capturing nontraditional revenue has become an even greater priority.

Unfortunately, despite increased effort, alternative revenue success remains difficult to generalize or replicate. Top auxiliary revenue institutions more often benefit from single breakthroughs or strokes of good luck than replicable, best-practice strategies. In short, there is no formula for multimillion-dollar ideas.



Isolating Important Lessons Learned

Instead, leaders must pursue a highly diversified strategy, applying dozens of tactics across multiple areas of the institution. Fortunately, the Business Affairs Forum has identified 200 replicable revenue-generating tactics. While few of these tactics will alone generate tens of millions of dollars of additional revenue, at least in the short term, they can collectively sum up to significant dollars.

Drawing on common themes to successful revenue growth, we have also distilled four executive imperatives to guide leaders’ alternative revenue efforts. The strongest tactics, those with largest potential revenue or highest ease of implementation, typically address one or more of these imperatives:

  • Capitalize on Student Demand for Convenience and Flexibility
  • Bundle Episodic Services into Memberships and Turnkey Packages
  • Seek Out Stealth Advertising and Leasing Opportunities
  • Leverage Scale to Create Beneficial New Markets


Two Resources to Help Leaders Capture Nontraditional Revenues

To help college and university business leaders grow alternative revenue, the Business Affairs Forum offers two distinct resources within this publication. The first resource details fours executive-level imperatives for generating nontraditional revenue. The second resource is a compendium of 200 proven revenue tactics, with detailed descriptions and relative dollar estimates.

Download Our Related Infographic

Our infographic outlines the 200 alternative revenue ideas in seven distinct categories, including new educational revenues, student fees, campus operations, and more.

Access the Infographic

Introduction