About the Higher Education Systems & Services Consortium


At Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY on June 5, 2014, a meeting of CFOs and CIOs from 40+ institutions and state associations called "The Administrative Systems Forum" took place. We realized that, throughout the country, private college/university Chief Business Officers (CBO) and Chief Information/Technology Officers (CIO) are mutually charged with providing mission critical administrative services in an environment of almost flat, if not decreasing, net revenues. We are asked to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative software services and related information technology to meet the increasing needs of diverse users while minimizing the resources used. Together, we are working in lockstep with our Presidents to determine how our tasks can best be accomplished, what marketplace options may be available to better meet out needs, and what innovative solutions are being implemented in our sector across the country.

Most of the major administrative software vendors (including Ellucian, Jenzabar, Campus Management, and others) are in the process of redeveloping their products and subsequently restructuring their pricing models. New opportunities for collaborative pricing of vendor software, consultative services, Software-as-a-Service, Cloud Services and even shared services exist now and will continue to grow in the future. At the first Forum meeting, we heard from colleagues whom have already successfully implemented many of these collaborative cost-saving solutions and others who are ready to explore new partnerships and ways of doing business. This conference was not sponsored by, nor will be attended by, vendors providing a forum free from the distraction of sales representatives.

Attendees were invited to bring ideas, experience, questions and a willingness to have open-ended discussions with colleagues on a wide range of new solutions. The outcome was very positive from all the attendees and we are now working on next steps to discuss the formation of a new consortium focused on higher education ERP solutions, pricing and future emerging technologies that could change the way private institutions do business. If you are interested in becoming a part of this discussion to start a new ERP-focused consortium of private institutions, please register for an account here. Please note that only registrants from .edu contact email addresses and approved state associations will be given an account on this site to protect the membership from spam and unwanted advertising. Also, your information will not be shared to vendors or other outside sales entities.


Today, the Higher Education Systems & Services Consortium or "The HESS Consortium" is a fully incorporated 501c3 non-profit, membership-run organization. The HESS Consortium is focused on collectively lowering costs and increasing collaboration between specifically private colleges and universities in the area of administrative systems and services.

The HESS Consortium is made up of chief financial officers, chief information officers as well as technology and finance directors in a diverse group of schools committed to finding efficiencies and cost savings by working with other like-minded institutions. Together, we realize that, throughout the country, private college/university Chief Business Officers (CBO) and Chief Information/Technology Officers (CIO) are mutually charged with providing mission critical administrative services in an environment of almost flat, if not decreasing, net revenues. We are asked to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative software services and related information technology to meet the increasing needs of diverse users while minimizing the resources used.

We currently have strong relationships with major higher education ERP companies including: Campus Management, Inc., Ellucian, Jenzabar, Oracle, Unit4 and Workday.  Our individual cohorts are run by institutional leaders using ERP solutions from their respective companies.


The goals for our member-run consortium include 1.) vendor cohort teams to negotiate overall pricing for each of the major ERP vendors for both on-premise and in-the-cloud operations, 2.) develop an “apples-to-apples” comparison instrument to look at all the vendors’ pricing models and product features and 3.) begin to develop an affordable collaborative model for cloud-based operations as an option for those institutions interested.  Organizationally, we will be developing institutional support/collaboration between the vendor cohort groups as well as best practices discussions for CIOs, CFOs and technical staff professionals within vendor product cohorts as well as between member institutions.

Can I negotiate my pricing outside of the consortium while I am a part of HESS?

The overall goal for our consortium is to negotiate a fair cost for all the members collectively. HESS vendor cohorts negotiate product pricing with vendors based on the cohort FTE numbers for the total group of schools.  This allows most schools to see a strong overall savings within most all consortia.  What we do ask member institutions to do is stay true to the collective good of the consortium.  We strongly believe that, if individual members leave the consortium to get a better "one off" price, that member will succomb to predatory pricing just to see their costs increase significantly at a later time.  Members who would join and get a lower deal outside of the group would not be helping the full group of schools in the cohort.  For this reason, we do ask our members to take part in their cohorts to directly collaborate with the vendors for the best pricing and to be faithful to the bond between the institutions within the consortium.

How are pricing negotiated between member institutions and vendor software partners?

All pricing and features negotiations go on between the vendor cohort groups and the vendor software partner directly.  Vendor cohorts help develop RFP requirements and pricing standards and decide whether the features and pricing meet their individual institutional needs.  Cohorts have the ability to accept RFP responses or request changes to the vendor software partner request.  If an agreement cannot be made, the cohort has the ability to reject parts of the RFP response or reject the entire response.  While most institutions have a non-disclosure statement that limits indivual pricing from being shared, member institutions can communicate whether a submitted pricing layout from their vendor is helpful to their institution or not.  This is how cohorts can work together to find an optimal pricing model that is beneficial to all institutions in a vendor solution cohort.

All contracts with vendors are still done between the institutions and its vendor of choice.  HESS negotiates the pricing agreement but the institution continues to contract, communicate and work with their vendor of choice as usual under the HESS collaborative agreement.

Is the work of HESS all about vendor pricing negotiations?

Absolutely not.  While the HESS Consortium is concerned about pricing to member institutions, the group is also interested working more closely with vendor software partners to better collaborate on customer needs regarding features and future directions of the product- especially in cloud-based operations.  Most importantly, we want to work together internally to promote better collaboration, information/expertise sharing and collective innovation on many areas of administrative and academic operations.  We are starting the process of creating user forums and communities where administrative professionals can share their work and their questions with other professionals to collaborate and innovate on new collective solutions to operational automation and problems.

In short, we are interested in other private, non-profit colleges and universities who wish to support and aid each other in making our collective administrative operations better and more effective while finding new efficiencies.


If you would like for your private, non-profit higher education institution to become a part of the Higher Education Systems and Services Consortium, have an authorized member of your college or university to click here to fill out our institutional membership form online

Membership fees are $499 annually. 

JOIN USIf you have additional questions about HESS membership, please contact us at info@hessconsortium.org.

Membership Benefits

  • Opportunity to create shared alliances with other members and vendors
  • Access to HESS shared, collaborative software contracts for private, non-profit institutions
  • Access to the annual “HESS Report” on the higher education ERP industry and institutional profiles of member institutions.
  • Listservs for our ERP and ancillary software member community with Forum access to collaborate with other private, non-profit institutions using the same software solutions
  • Serve on HESS software cohorts and work directly with top software executives on industry-shaping discussions on campus needs, licensing, pricing and support issues
  • Attend an annual conference featuring concurrent demo sessions with all of our major ERP and ancillary company partners
  • HESS is partnered with E&I Cooperative Services to allow member institutions to be part of the CDW-G HESS/E&I Aggregate Purchase contract group, allowing private institutions access to pricing similar to much larger E&I's public institution members.
  • Full information on pricing/discount benefits of HESS Consortium members can be accessed here.

Vendor-partners are selected through our HESS Consortium member community only. 

If you would like to get more information about becoming a HESS vendor-partner, please click here.

NOTE: As of February 30, 2017, HESS Consortium negotiated shared contracts are now completely voluntary to members.  If the contract does not meet your campus' needs or pricing goals, there is no obligation for you to take part BUT let us know so we can work harder to make it helpful to your institution!

Higher Education Systems and Services Consortium Board of Directors:

  • Carol Smith, DePauw University (Chief Information Officer)
    President, Board of Directors (HESS)
  • Keith Fowlkes, E&I Cooperative Services (VP, Technology Contracts & former higher education CIO)
    Executive Director & Vice President, Board of Directors (HESS)
  • Fred Miller, Wofford College (Chief Information Officer)
    Secretary, Board of Directors
  • Mark Coleman, Lindsey Wilson College (Vice President for Administration and Finance)
    Treasurer, Board of Directors (HESS)
  • Paul Dupree, Asbury University (Chief Information Officer)
    Kirk Bay, Mercer University (Exec. Director, Application Services)
    Campus Management Cohort Co-chairs, Board of Directors (HESS)
  • Eric Satterly, Bellarmine University (Chief Information Officer)
    Ellucian Colleague Cohort Chair, Board of Directors (HESS)
  • Trey Short, Illinois Wesleyan University (Chief Information Officer)
    Ellucian Banner Cohort Chair, Board of Directors
  • Penny Evans-Plants, Berry College (Chief Information Officer) 
    Dawn Houze, Hanover College (Director of Administrative Computing)
    Jenzabar Cohort Co-chairs, Board of Directors
  • Trey Arrington, Spartanburg Methodist College (Chief Information Officer)
    Brian Schmidt, Corban University (Chief Information Officer)
    Unit 4/CAMS/Three Rivers Cohort Co-chairs. 
    Board of Directors (HESS)
  • Spencer Golden, Haverford College (Associate Chief Information Officer)
    Workday Cohort Chair, Board of Directors (HESS)
  • Michael Boehm, Saint Mary's College- Notre Dame, IN (Chief Information Officer) 
    Board of Directors (HESS)

Thank you for your interest in our group and we hope to hear from you soon.

Our over 100 member institutions include the following private colleges & universities:

 Albion College

Anderson University (IN)

Asbury University

Agnes Scott College

Appalachian College of Pharmacy

Augsburg College

Austin College

Averett University

Bellarmine University

Berry College

Bluefield College

Brenau University

Bryan College

Catawba College

Cedarville University

Centre College

Claflin University

Clark Atlanta University

Clarke University

Coker College

College of the Atlantic

Columbia International University

Corban University

Covenant College

Cumberland University

Denison University

DePauw University

Duquesne University

Earlham College

Erskine College

Faulkner University

Flagler College

Franklin & Marshall College

Furman University

Georgetown College

George Washington University

Goshen College

Graceland University

Grinnell College

Hampshire College

Hanover College

Harding University

Haverford College

Huntington University

Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Wesleyan University

Kenyon College

Knox College

LaGrange College

Lindsey Wilson College

Lipscomb University

Lubbock Christian University

Luther College

Lynchburg College

Lynn University

Manchester University

Marywood University

Mary Baldwin College

McDaniel College 

Mercer University

Morehouse College

Morningside College

Mount St. Joseph University

Muhlenberg College

National University of Health Sciences

North Central College

North Greenville University

Northwest Christian University

Northwood University

Oberlin College & Conservatory

Ohio Dominican University

Ohio Northern University

Ohio Wesleyan University

Palmer College of Chiropractic

Paul Smith's College

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Piedmont College

Presbyterian College

Prescott College

Queen's University, Charlotte

Ranken Techncial College

Rhodes College

Roanoke College

Saint Mary's College

Shenandoah University

Southern College of Optometry

Southeastern University

Southwestern University

Spalding University

Spartanburg Methodist College

Spelman College

St. Mary's University

Susquehanna University

Sweet Briar College

Taylor University

Tennessee Wesleyan College

The College of Wooster

The University of Findlay

The University of the South

Thomas More College

Transylvania University

Trine University

Trinity University

Truett McConnell University

Union College - KY

Union University

University of Pikeville

Wabash College

Wesleyan College

Wheaton College

Wofford College

Xavier University

Our partnering state and organizational associations include: