Thought Leadership Series: “The Future of Private Higher Education” with Stuart RabinowitzNovember 12th, 2013
Robert Rosenthal, FLI’s Chairman, CEO, and CIO, welcomed friends and clients of the firm to the Garden City Hotel to discuss the future of higher private education with Stuart Rabinowitz, President of Hofstra University. This event also celebrated the 30th anniversary of First Long Island Investors, a milestone achievement for a wealth management company on Long Island, and one that many in attendance have benefitted from over the years. President Rabinowitz addressed the challenges facing higher private education institutions today and the keys to success going forward.
President Rabinowitz started by acknowledging the widespread concern about the cost of college tuition and made clear that private universities must justify the value of the education that they provide. For most private schools (those without huge endowments), tuition supports almost all of the university’s expenses, of which as much as 75% are for personnel expenses. These expenses can include union jobs, which have contracted pay increases, and generous healthcare and pension contributions for all employees and their families.
President Rabinowitz explained that students at private universities, on average, pay 40 to 50% less than the stated tuition rates. However, by discounting tuition, in order to attract a better and more diverse student body, a university is accepting less revenue. Hofstra has positioned itself as a “premier private institution on Long Island; and the public sees a Hofstra degree as a valuable asset.” To continue to be competitive, Hofstra must focus on quality and reducing unnecessary operating costs.
President Rabinowitz focused on three keys to success for higher private education institutions in the future. First, universities must have a strong endowment to help defray rising costs as students are less willing to pay increasing tuition bills. Second, universities will need to reduce costs by becoming more efficient and cutting ancillary services. Finally, universities must focus on building a solid brand. Hofstra has made great strides in improving its brand by partnering with North Shore-LIJ on a state-of-the-art medical school, and becoming just the second university to host back-to-back presidential debates. President Rabinowitz finished by emphasizing the importance of providing an education that justifies the price, by giving students not only a degree but a quality education.
Stuart Rabinowitz was chosen by the Hofstra University Board of Trustees to serve as the eighth president of the University on December 20, 2000. Prior to his appointment, he served as dean of Hofstra University School of Law from September 1989 through June 2001. He joined the faculty of the Law School in 1972. President Rabinowitz currently holds the Andrew M. Boas and Mark L. Claster Distinguished Professor of Law.