Student Debt and the Spending Crisis: What Trustees Need to Know to Spend Wisely

  • Date

    April 18, 2023

  • Time

    1:00 PM

  • Location



In the next few months, the U.S. Supreme Court will hand down one of the most consequential decisions for higher education in recent years. But regardless of the future of the Biden administration’s loan forgiveness plan, to do the best for today’s and tomorrow’s graduates, colleges and universities must think creatively if they are to use scarce resources efficiently. And for some governing boards, it is an existential matter for their institution.

Please join the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) on April 18, 2023, at 1 p.m. EST for a one-hour webinar designed specifically for college trustees and other higher education leaders to discuss college spending, budgets, and in what areas institutions can tighten their belts without harming academic quality or student outcomes. After this timely discussion, trustees will be better equipped to understand their institution’s budgets and maximize their institution’s resources.



Matthew Hendricks—Founder, Perspective Data Science

Dr. Matthew Hendricks is the founder of Perspective Data Science, a data consultancy firm that provides organizations, particularly those in the education sector operating on small budgets, with state-of-the-art analytics. He works with institutions to help them make better policy decisions that promote financial stability and improve student outcomes. Dr. Hendricks previously served as chair of the Department of Economics and associate professor of economics at the University of Tulsa, where his scholarship focused on labor economics, applied econometrics, and education policy. His research on the impact of changes in base salaries on teacher productivity was published in the Journal of Public Economics and Economics of Education Review. Dr. Hendricks holds a B.S. in economics from St. John’s University and a Ph.D. in applied economics from the University of Minnesota.

The Honorable George “Hank” Brown—Former President, University of Colorado, and Former U.S. Senator

The Honorable Hank Brown served as president of the University of Colorado from 2005–2008. He was then named to the Quigg and Virginia S. Newton Endowed Chair in Leadership at the University of Colorado–Boulder and was an adjunct professor in the law school. Over his distinguished career in public service, he has served as the president of the University of Northern Colorado (1998–2002); as a member of the Colorado Senate (1972–1976); and as a member of both the U.S. House of Representatives (1981–1991) and the U.S. Senate (1991–1997). He led the university to record growth in enrollment, donations, and diversity and spearheaded the largest increase in state funding in the school’s history. Dr. Brown is one of 22 signatories to ACTA’s Governance for a New Era report, which calls on college trustees to work with faculty and presidents to form effective responses to ever-increasing tuition costs, outsized administrative expenditures, and the erosion of academic freedom. He received a B.S. in accounting from the University of Colorado, a master’s degree in law from George Washington University, and a J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law, and is a certified public accountant (CPA).

Robert Dickeson

Robert C. Dickeson—Cofounder, Academic Strategy Partners

Dr. Robert C. Dickeson is cofounder of Academic Strategy Partners, now the Academic Strategy Consortium, which provides expert consultation to colleges, universities, and other organizations to improve institutional leadership, systems and processes, governance, planning, enrollment management, performance analytics, and financial standing. A national leader in higher education, Dr. Dickeson served as president of the University of Northern Colorado from 1981 to 1991. He has chaired blue-ribbon commissions appointed by three governors in two states; has been an officer of 80 corporate, government, foundation, and public affairs organizations; and served as commissioner from Colorado to the Education Commission of the States. As co-founder and Senior Vice President of Lumina Foundation for Education, he led the national effort to control college costs. He is the author of more than 200 publications in the fields of higher education leadership and policy and public administration. Dr. Dickeson’s book, Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services, is based on his extensive consulting experiences serving several hundred two- and four-year colleges and corporations ranging from hospitals to bank holding companies. Dr. Dickeson holds an A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. in political science and public administration from the University of Missouri–Columbia.

Alice Brown

Alice Lee Williams Brown—Principal, AWB & Associates

Alice Lee Williams Brown taught at Appalachian State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Ohio University, and the University of Kentucky prior to leading the Appalachian College Program at the University of Kentucky. After 10 years, the Program became the non-profit Appalachian College Association housed in Berea, KY. For the next 15 years, Dr. Brown raised over $50 million to provide fellowships for faculty and research experiences for students at 35 small private colleges across the five states of central Appalachia. Since retiring as President Emerita from that association, she has received funding from various foundations to research colleges that closed or almost closed and the importance of trusteeship. Her research has resulted in the publication of 15 articles, three books, and a confidential report on the almost closing of Sweet Briar College. She reviews proposals for the Skelly Foundation and the US Department of Education, has served on the boards of the Southern Education Foundation, Colby-Sawyer College, HERS, the Association of Collaborative Leadership, Teaching Learning Technology, the Appalachian Studies Association, and has advised non-profit organizations and private colleges. She earned her B.S. and M.A. from Appalachian State University and her Ed.D. from the University of Kentucky.


Anna Sillers

Anna Sillers—Data Analyst Fellow, ACTA

Anna Sillers serves as the data analyst fellow in ACTA’s Trustee & Government Affairs Department where she oversees She is responsible for examining education data related to college spending and tuition to understand how spending can hurt or help students and led the quantitative research for ACTA’s The Cost of Excess. Prior to joining ACTA, she was an associate consultant for Manhattan Strategy Group, where she served as a researcher and data analyst for the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor. She holds a B.A. in economics from Mount Holyoke College and an M.P.P. from Georgetown University.


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