New twist on naming rights

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by CalDog, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    It’s well known that traditional B&M universities reward generous donors by putting their names on buildings (or other parts of the school). Seems that people like the idea of having their names permanently attached to the B&M facilities of a prestigious university -- plus the donation is tax deductible. So for example, Forbes College at Princeton University reflects a generous gift from the Forbes family.

    But what about online, for-profit universities ? They can’t really play this game. Online for-profit schools generally have no B&M facilities and little prestige -- plus you can’t make a charitable donation to a for-profit institution. So the incentives to give money for naming rights just isn’t there.

    But Bridgepoint Education (owners of Ashford University) have come up with a new strategy. Instead of requesting money in exchange for naming rights, they offer money in exchange for naming rights. And that’s why there is now a “Forbes School of Business” at Ashford:

    So there are now facilities with the "Forbes" name at both Princeton University and Ashford University. In one case, the name reflects the flow of money from Forbes to the school. In the other case, the name reflects the flow of money from the school to Forbes.
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    So you can give money to School A and get a tax deduction for the full amount. Then you can collect money back - from School B. Any bets there's a loophole so high-rollers can avoid tax on the money earned from B -- thereby getting a "free" tax reduction?

    I'll bet there is! :sad: Whole setup sounds to me like it has the potential to be made into something more crooked than Barney's hind leg. He's my son's beagle/basset hound mix. Wonderful dog!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2014
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Except that Princeton and Ashford aren't connected.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Actually that is a good idea, wasn't that Jack Welch School of Business at Chancellor University in the same situation. Well, next time they will come with the idea that you donate a little money, they will name a SERVER after you.
  5. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I realize that, Steve. The only things connected in this scheme are the donor/recipient and the (moment of respectful silence)

  7. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    Too bad students are not the priority. Reducing tuition, improving customer service, and improving educational quality would have been better investment in the long-term. This is just window dressing for a short-term boost in enrollment. I hope students will see through this and give their money to institutions that are student-centered.
  8. Koolcypher

    Koolcypher Member

    Ha ha, I like the name your server scheme. Your name will go here:
  9. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Businesses routinely cut licensing deals to put famous names on products, like George Foreman grills, or the Martha Stewart Home Collection, or Air Jordan shoes. Ashford is basically doing the same thing for their product, which happens to be business degrees.

    It seems like there could potentially be more deals like this in the future. Ashford obviously believes that the "Forbes School of Business" name will be worth millions in marketing value: they are paying $15 million for the "Forbes" name up front, plus a minimum of $2.5 million per year, which means at least $45 million over the 12-year initial term of the deal. You could just as easily imagine the potential value of (hypothetical) names like the "Trump School of Management", or the "Bill Gates School of Information Technology", or the "Ralph Lauren School of Fashion & Design". Names like these wouldn't come cheap, but many for-profit schools have hefty marketing budgets.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2014
  10. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    That's probably not going to fly. But I could imagine an online school making a different kind of deal: donate money and you can be an official sponsor of an official university web page. Imagine a discreet label at the top of the page, just below the university logo, something like this:

    OK, so maybe it's not the same as having your name on a building, but it would probably cost a lot less. Some people would go for it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2014
  11. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    And then there was the marvelous prank pulled by Spy Magazine years ago. They had a lawyer send a letter to a dozen Evangelical Bible Schools, each saying that they had a client who benefited tremendously from their program, and who would be willing to donate $50 million, but only if the school would change its name to that of their client . . . and thus become Rubinstein University.

    All 12 took it seriously and responded, and . . .
  12. NorCal

    NorCal Active Member

    If there is a will there is a way = For profit education.

    I can't help but think about that scene in College Inc. where the for profit universities said they identified a field/ major that could attract students so they would rent a hotel room, stuff a few PhD.'s into a room, and have them draft an entire program in a single weekend. (UoP if memory serves me correctly)


    I guess you have to keep in mind that for profit education is corporate minded in nature; so they will take more aggressive steps to set themselves apart from the competition. Education is rapidly becoming big business with the invent of the internet and online education.

    I would just consider it a :nutkick: if someone assumed I went to Forbes School of Business at Princeton University and I had to correct them and say that I actually went to Ashford University.

    Kinda one of the Harvard College vs. Harvard University sort of things . . . leaving people scratching their heads going WTF?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2014
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Ashford could have given out 300 full-ride scholarships with that money plus dozens more each year with the $2.5m they'll be paying annually. I think that would look better from a marketing standpoint. It would make them look less money hungry and more like they care about educating people.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Okay, that's pretty funny. On the other hand, if they're evangelical, they must think that people sometimes convert, right?
  15. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    This is exactly why this is so disappointing - An inferior product in a glossy package. It may increased enrollments so from a business perspective it may the thing to do. It is time for more reputable universities to boost their online programs. The demand for online education will be here for a while.
  16. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Incidentally, Bridgepoint announced some other news at the same time that they announced the deal with Forbes:

    The numbers basically reflect the enrollment at Ashford University (since University of the Rockies is quite small). Ashford apparently had serious enrollment losses over the past year. Presumably they expect that the Forbes deal will help turn things around.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2014
  17. Koolcypher

    Koolcypher Member

    I wonder if the the "for-profits" take the Sesame Street route. Lets say you call their 800 number to speak with someone, be it admissions, financial aid and so forth. Once you reach the switchboard, you are then routed to the different departments by pressing their corresponding number. And this is where the Sesame Street scenario comes in. Imagine something like this:

    "Thank you for calling (insert for-profit college name here) to reach Financial Aid, press one" Then a five second message plays. "The number one brought to you by Joe Blow, class of '09".
    "To reach the registrars office press the number two"
    "The number two brought to you by Sally Smith, Class of '10"
    "To reach admissions press the number three"
    "The number three brought to you by John Smith, Class of '12"

    And so forth...

  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Actually, The Donald did operate "Trump University" at one point. The New York Board of Regents objected to his calling it a "University" and made him change the name - I believe it's Trump Entrepreneur Initiative now. We have a thread or two on it here. It is/was at least partially used as a vehicle to sell seminars etc. and the services of high-paid "mentors."

    I still have a handsome "freebie" from Trump University. A very nice PDF document with more than 200 financial tips from Mr. Trump. It's a handsome document and I put the title page, with a picture of Mr. Trump and the "University" on the cover of a binder. It really looks like it cost money - and I sometimes carry it around for effect. :smile:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2014
  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Perhaps there would be an interest in a "Trump Centre for Bankruptcy Studies."

    After four bouts with corporate bankruptcy, Mr. Trump has emerged, at least ostensibly, richer than before. A Bankruptcy Studies Centre in his name might appeal to those studying to become bankruptcy and insolvency administrators -- or those who wish to learn how to make the very best of a bad situation. "Bankruptcy for Fun & Profit?" :sad:

    Fourth Time's A Charm: How Donald Trump Made Bankruptcy Work For Him - Forbes

  20. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    The "Trump" name has previously been licensed for use by hotels, casinos, restaurants, skating rinks, golf courses, modeling agencies, an airline, tv programs, menswear, fragrance, books, steaks, chocolate, nutritional products, vodka, and bottled water.

    My guess is that an accredited college or university could license the name too, if the price was right.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2014

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