Pa. Colleges Expand Insurance Buying Group

In Lancaster, Pa., Franklin & Marshall College President John Fry recently announced the addition of Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges to the Shared Services Consortium (SSC).

The SSC, which includes charter members Bucknell University, Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College and Gettysburg College, allows its institutions to pool their buying power to contain the costs of higher education. In addition, the consortium makes its benefits available to other educational institutions in the state.

“Adding Bryn Mawr and Haverford greatly enhances our potential success for future projects,” said John Shaddock, president of the SSC. “Colleges and universities all over the country are challenged by rising costs, and the exceptional schools are those that seek out creative ways to answer this challenge.”

Established in 1998 with the assistance of the Mellon Foundation, the SSC designs business strategies to reduce expenses, increase non-tuition revenues, and increase the quality of services for its members. The consortium has successfully collaborated on projects such as monthly tuition payment plans, basic life insurance, telecommunications, long-term disability, NCAA sports insurance and student sickness and accident insurance. Its worker’s compensation project currently benefits 18 Pennsylvania colleges, universities and preparatory schools.

“The SSC has already proved that savings can be realized by combining insurance programs and through the combined purchasing of some goods and services,” said Bryn Mawr College President Nancy J. Vickers. “There is the potential to realize even greater savings through collaborative efforts in some administrative areas.”

“Haverford joined the SSC for the opportunity to work with a group of similarly minded schools,” said Haverford President Tom Tritton. “We have shared academic aspirations and we all know that saving money on business aspects of our operations allows us to concentrate even more fully on the educational mission that is so central to our purpose.”

A primary goal of the consortium is to find creative ways to reduce institutions’ dependence on tuition increases as the solution to maintaining balanced budgets. Members of the SSC hope to further reduce costs with future projects targeting areas such as energy purchasing, staff training, auto insurance, property insurance, health insurance and dental insurance.

“Small colleges could not afford to or justify doing some of these things by themselves,” said Shaddock. “When it comes to items such as insurance, they are able to save money by working together.”

“Success as a consortium means that there is a high level of cooperation among schools that normally compete with each other for students,” Fry said. “We welcome the addition of Bryn Mawr and Haverford because they not only have similar goals and objectives, but because they are high-quality liberal arts institutions that are respected in both the business and academic communities. We are all looking forward to future collaborations with each other.”