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Higher Education

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Meet enrollment targets, control costs, maximize technology, optimize investments, stay competitive — higher education leaders face a daunting “to-do” list. For more than 50 years, we’ve served as a trusted advisor to public and private colleges and universities, community colleges, and foundations. We understand the pressures you face, and our experts work with you to provide strategic direction, benchmarking, and analysis to support your success.

We work with you and your board to explore new funding sources, manage risk, and protect your institution from cybersecurity threats. We help you plan and implement new technology, assess your current technology environment, extract added value from your current technology systems and uncover new opportunities for optimization and cost savings. Our team can assist with fraud investigations and implement controls to minimize risk. We provide independent advice on facility utilization, and our project management professionals can advise you on every aspect of your construction and campus improvement projects.

 We are the second largest provider of single audits, serving higher education, school districts, government, not-for-profit, and healthcare. The annual expenditures for government programs audited range from $750,000 to $1 billion.

Digital transformation in higher education

How technology can transform higher education
6 min read
Public sector data analytics: Leverage data to make better decisions
Are you making full use of the data you collect? Here are some practical ways to gain the upper hand.
Mark Richards
Article October 1, 2020 6 min read

Higher Education Podcast Series
Learn trends, background, and recommendations for how to make the best use of cloud solutions and infrastructure.

How changing regulations affect higher education

Stay on top of higher education industry standards image
15 min read
Higher education: COVID-19/CARES Act guidance

Accounting and reporting requirements for COVID-19-related federal funding are constantly changing for higher education institutions, raising many questions. Our resource-rich guide provides answers for PPP, CARES Act, HEERF, 18004(a)(1) grants, and more.

Vicki VanDenBerg
White Paper October 30, 2020 15 min read
GASB 87, Leases: A closer look
Keith Szymanski
Webinar November 18, 2020 60 min watch
Revised Uniform Guidance: Key highlights and questions to ask
Amanda Ward
Article October 30, 2020 5 min read
GASB update: Are you on track?
Amanda Cronk
Webinar October 21, 2020 60 min watch

Enterprise risk management
Lessons for higher education

Managing risk in higher education

Managing risk in higher education image
70 min watch
Cybersecurity for the public sector: You've been hacked — now what?

Cyberattacks often target the public sector. This three part on-demand webinar series will help you boost your cybersecurity efforts by figuring out where to start after a data breach, determine how it happened, and how to protect your organization for the future.

Judy Wright
Webinar February 19, 2018 70 min watch
Five steps to effectively manage risk
Judy Wright
Article June 1, 2017 3 min read
Enterprise risk management: Lessons for higher education
Vicki VanDenBerg
Article June 1, 2017 12 min read
Preparing for disruption: Strategic planning for higher education
Ivy Anderson
Article November 25, 2020 5 min read

Higher Education Thought Leadership

  • Higher education: COVID-19/CARES Act guidance

    Accounting and reporting requirements for COVID-19-related federal funding are constantly changing for higher education institutions, raising many questions. Our resource-rich guide provides answers for PPP, CARES Act, HEERF, 18004(a)(1) grants, and more.

    Vicki VanDenBerg Katie Thornton Brian Greko Sadie Mayle
    White Paper October 30, 2020 15 min read
    View of an empty parking lot with business buildings nearby.
  • The business of higher education
    Nationwide, higher education leaders are forging new relationships built upon deeper collaboration, improved service, and closer alignment of business initiatives with institutional missions.
    White Paper July 10, 2015 38 minute read
    Image of women in a classroom
  • GASB 74 and 75: Examining the new GASB OPEB standards
    GASB standards 74 and 75 will make significant revisions to the current accounting and reporting for OPEB, both from an employer perspective as well as from a plan perspective.
    Webinar March 8, 2017 60 min watch
    Image of person working
  • Protect your institution by managing risk
    There are ongoing threats specific to your higher education institution. Explore the world of risk management and the risk factors you should be mitigating now.
    Webinar May 7, 2015 75 min watch
    diverse group of people working on a project
  • Let’s all agree on what’s fair: GASB 72 fair value explained
    With GASB 72 in effect, are you wondering what other investments are now subject to the fair value measurement? In this webinar, we’ll look at the changes GASB 72 brings and discuss some sample disclosures. 
    Katie Thornton Michelle Watterworth
    Webinar January 28, 2016 120 min watch
    woman working on her laptop
  • Hidden consequences of alternative investments for not-for-profits
    If you lead a not-for-profit or serve on the board of one, you need to know that some investments trigger reporting and/or tax payment obligations that might not otherwise exist. Here are a few commonly-missed forms and penalties.
    Article November 29, 2016 4 min read
    boardrooom with wood table and white office chairs
  • New FASB standard for nonprofits' presentation of financial statements
    With proposed changes to the FASB standards for nonprofits’ financial statements, are you worried about being in compliance with the new rules? Join our webinar to understand the proposed regulations and how they could affect you. 
    Webinar October 5, 2016 60 min watch
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Our clients say

Plante Moran has the expertise in higher education that has proved invaluable to Hope. They are definitely a leader in higher education audit preparation. They continually keep Hope abreast of current and new audit regulation that will impact higher education. Their webinars and seminars offered are very helpful and informative. This is a great added resource to having them serve as our auditors.

Douglas VanDyken Director of Finance & Business Services, Hope College

Graphs and charts depicting data analytics information and insights.
3 min read
Analytics framework improves efficiencies and provides valuable insights

A new analytics framework helps a medical research university improve their ePHI user access security and analysis and create operational efficiencies to focus on value-add risk mitigation activities.

Chris Moshier
Case Study April 2, 2019 3 min read
Finished construction and installation of art gallery space in Northwestern Michigan College's Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Michigan
1 min read
College renovates on-campus museum with guidance from Plante Moran Cresa

When Northwestern Michigan College decided to renovate the Dennos Museum Center, Plante Moran Cresa guided its internal staff through the design and construction process, keeping the project on track through completion.

Pat Podges Plante Moran Cresa
Case Study January 16, 2019 1 min read

Our Team

Our team of higher education experts includes CPAs, technology professionals, management consultants, forensic accountants, and facilities/construction advisors, and our professionals can complement the expertise and capabilities of your in-house staff. As trusted advisors to the education sector, our audit and compliance specialists stay on top of changing regulations and trends impacting higher education and your institution. We share analysis and insights to help you anticipate challenges and plan for the future.