Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bubble U.: High Point University

(Clarification: An earlier version at High Point University mischaracterized the use of derivative financial instruments that use derivatives only to hedge interest rate, not for investment purposes) in a small electric train we draw away from the reception building, clear High Point University campus looks like nothing any of us had ever seen. The pipe in classical music drifts fresh flower beds planted as a guide for students, piloting a golf cart-style "machine," tows our group of six kids and teens past the statue of Aristotle, Galileo, and Jefferson. He parks in front of the Plato S. Wilson School of Commerce, and we hiked for a tour of the building. Opened in 2009, it is equipped with marble floors, full size such as financial trading floors, and a class with row upon row of computer aided design console. Children's eyes' pop as the tour continued, with visits to the cinema display, steakhouse, and a dormitory with a plasma-screen TV and outdoor hot tubs.Nothing like this was here seven years ago, when Nido Qubein, a multimillionaire and Motivational Speaker , became president of what the sleepy little Methodist college. 

It Qubein who launched an effort to change the school 88 years into a nationally recognized institution. Some $ 700 million was spent to repair and expand the campus. Admission to 50 per cent, in 3700, although the college and the room and jumped 60 percent to $ 37,800 per year. The average students' SAT scores went nearly 10 percent. Photo by Mark MahaneyThe High Point campus, $ 700 million and then "The world is admiring how High Point University has grown so successful in the midst of the worst economic conditions in 54 years," Qubein said. Since becoming president in January 2005, he raised about $ 159 million in gifts and promises, and pledged to kick in $ 11 million of his own money. Many more to come: new dormitories, health-sciences schools, pharmacy colleges, sports arenas all told, a $ 2.1 billion planned improvements in 2020. All this in the midst of depressed factory town of North Carolina. John Nelson, head of higher education ratings group Moody's Investors Service (MCO), said that in 20 years as an analyst he does not see institutions like High Point. "It's more like a growth company," he said. Moody's debt rating downgraded to junk status at the university in 2009 as running some $ 165 million of debt to be one of the best high schools in the country. "The rate at which they borrow and the aggressiveness of the marketing investment in facilities and the campus," said Nelson, ready for High Point apart.Along with neoclassical campus impossible, Restoration Hardware version Yale, High Point Market Mapping Nido Qubein story. Raised in Jordan, he emigrated to the United States in 1966 as a teenager with, as his official biography says, he graduated from the "little knowledge of English, contacts, and only $ 50 in his pocket." High Point and has a rich speaker, consultant, and investor. Sitting in his office under the American flag and a map of the greatness of the campus, talk Qubein create a "paradigm shift" to higher education. Increased campus intended "to create an environment where [students] aspires to be outstanding," he said. "High Point is not swimming in a sea of ​​sameness." Qubein believe students are more inspired by the comforts of a luxury resort and see High Point as a way to prepare them for lifelong success. "I want my kids going to deal with things better," he said. "Most parents do." Photo by Mark MahaneyLacrosse skills to the new track and field facilityThere about 1,600 private colleges and universities in the U.S. fewer than 100 are considered "medallion" institutions with rich endowments, very selective admission, and faculty superstar. Some others, including High Point, lacking much, if not all, of the features and struggled to distinguish themselves academically. Only a rare break from the pack to reach elite status, and usually requires effort in decades, says Kent Chabotar, president of Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, and an expert in the field of higher education finance. "Reputation," Chabotar said, "take forever to change." Want Qubein encourage greatness High Point in just a few years. Details of the plan resembles some high-risk behaviors who blew the investment bank in 2008. He followed a strategy known among higher ed as a "dormitory" or "field of dreams" approach. He borrowed tens of millions to build an upscale hostel, use the new facility to attract more students, and then use their bills to pay interest on the debt and took over construction. As debt ballooned, he got waivers to avoid debt covenant violations, according to Moody's and Standard & Poor's. He stormed skinny schools $ 46 million to buy real estate immortal, among others, the university now has a half-empty shopping center and former Methodist retirement community converted to student housing. Former university leadership "hung on the money," he said. "That's not how this business. Money follows ideas. "For the numbers add up, High Point needs of thousands of children from rich families who need some financial aid and can pay top dollar for luxury accommodation. Elements of a make-or-break from university Qubein the 21st century, in other words, the cash flow. Qubein compact, white-haired 63-year lawsuit deliciously dark silk tie and vividly colored. In front of an audience, he moves a dancer's grace, gliding stage, spun on his heels, lunged forward with outstretched palms. With the rise and fall of his voice lightly accented, the impact of a winter morning captivating.On end, he had the attention of an auditorium full of parents. To motivate their children to enroll, High Point offers the opportunity to compete for scholarships ranging from $ 700 to $ 20,000 per year. To enter the competition, though, the children and their parents have come to a high point for weekend.Photograph with Mark MahaneyA High Point (NC) Highlights: Picture flash site campus dresserAs a screen behind him, Qubein explains luxurious facilities babysitting children in and out of the campus. The campus is "an extension of your own home," he said. Itself Qubein teaches a required student seminar on "life skills" such as dressing for a job interview and write a business letter. "Choosing a college for your child is not just a decision," he said, clutching his fist on his chest. "This is a commitment, and dedication to work with heart and soul, not the brain." Preaching is more than words, the sense that, since Qubein introduced to public speaking Baptist church eastern North Carolina. In 1966 he enrolled at Mount Olive College, a two-year Baptist school trip a few hours east of High Point. Remember former classmates that he spoke English and came to the property does not exist, because the goods were lost in transit from Jordan. His Horatio Alger story has some holes in it, though. He came from a prominent Christian Anglican bishop uncle Jordan and countries both brothers graduated from Duke University in Durham near. Is one of the graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when Qubein came to Mount Olive 17.Mount age then president, W. Burkette Raper, took a shine to Qubein and took him to hear sermons in the local Baptist church. She helped him to earn money by providing conversations about growing up in the Middle East. Raper also lined up a local anonymous donor to help pay his tuition, Qubein said action inspired him to become a philanthropist who donated millions of civic organizations and scholarship funds. After completing the two-year program Mount Olive, Qubein moved to High Point, graduating in 1970.He began traveling extensively as a freelance speaker, gave a talk called "Young America: A Sleeping Giant" at civic club meetings and trade groups. "I have a tuxedo. They would pay me $ 200, "he recalls. Company executives who overheard the conversation and offers better performance in terms of company-paid. His speeches now commands $ 20,000 and up.When he lived in High Point, Qubein buy real estate and invest in a bank that was founded by a local businessman. It was absorbed in 1995 by BB & T (BBT) in Winston-Salem, one of the Southeast's largest bank, Qubein was invited to join the board. "Nido stands as a dreamer. He asks the right questions in the strategic direction, and he is a world-class faculty, "said John Allison, former chairman of BB & T. In addition to payment of directors, Qubein awarded a contract to teach in the BB & T Program training, reaching the $ 400,000 per year since 1993. The bank said it will continue teach.BB & T has been a major source of university funding, guaranteeing four bond issues since 2006 and gave tens of millions in loans and lines of credit. Christopher Henson, point High alumnus as BB & T's chief operating head, the university board of trustees. Join Qubein board High Point superintendent in 1993. When the old university president announced plans to step up in 2004, graduated Qubein proposed as his successor. Even as he raised the point of high profile, Qubein and his family have benefited from the rapid growth of the school. Base salary of $ 598,000 puts him in the top 10 percent of 519 private institutions surveyed by the Chronicle of Higher Education's president last year. In 2010, according to the annual High IRS filing period, he received a deferred compensation package that increases his salary to $ 1,380,000. IRS filings show the university paid nearly $ 1 million per year in public relations and business consulting family, now led by 28-year-old daughter Qubein, Deena Qubein Samuel. Qubein said the school maintain relationships arm's-length with the company, and that his salary will reflect the "market price" for the improvements it provides. High Point almost the first university to try to buy your way to greatness. A century ago, John D. New University of Chicago Rockefeller vaulted into elite status by spending large academic poach talent from competitors. In the 1980's and 90's, Emory University profiles significantly improved by using a $ 105 million gift from Coca-Cola shares (I) to pay for endowed professorships, scholarships and research programs. But there is no history of the school as the steps to spend so much just in the dorms and classrooms, said Richard Staisloff, Baltimore-based consultant in higher education management. "There is a package of academic quality," he said. Qubein university plans a lot about urban renewal on academics. City of High Point, was once a center for the manufacture of furniture and stocking manufacture experiencing economic collapse in the mid-1990s when the industry decamped to Asia, leaving hollowed-out industrial parks and neighborhood bungalow and farm house sink into disrepair. Qubein and High Point University community leaders bet could be anchor tenant of the local economy revitalized. "We need something in High Point to get this town and kicking again," said Mark Norcross, a former furniture company owner who gave the university $ 2 million and has recently committed $ 10 million more. Like most of the donors, he attended university. Norcross said Qubein sit with him in 2005 and sketched plans for a campus on a piece of paper. "He said, 'This university needs a face-lift, or can get the right clients'" - "client," that is, school family.The new students as part of the campus, the company part theme park inspired by traveling as Qubein consultant and speaker. "I was exposed to some of the best equipment in the world: corporate offices, convention centers, airports though," he says.The university has about 700 houses, the main house rent slip, the surrounding environment, and has destroyed most of them, even if no plans to develop the property. "I call urban cleansing," Qubein said. Many houses are used for charter students, universities are now encouraging students to stay in dormitories by prohibiting them to rent housing around the campus, including $ 20 million makeover neighborhoods.The Nido R. Qubein School of Communication, is a television studio, a glass-walled suites for video game design, and luxurious rooms, reading, shelves stocked with multiple copies of the book to the president (written over a dozen) and tape Motivation. Glass display case won.There trophy he still treasures in High Point, and found proficient Qubein. Some factory owners reap millions by selling before the exodus begins, the others moved their factories overseas. Dealers Bentley High Point only between Washington, DC, and Atlanta still under business.Donors also given U.S. $ 12 million worth of property, of the abandoned warehouse from a set of 300-piece Villeroy & Boch china and crystal Riedel said the university used a woman donate home country "to ensure that our students are exposed to high-end glasses.", the university is built on the basis of the ropes course. However, a gift that covers less than 15 percent of the $ 700 million spent so far, with the remainder financed by loans and student fees. Tens of millions of promised donations are still circulating, with some earmarked for future projects, such as pharmacy graduate tough times school.Economic given High Point University as a marketing advantage. Net beats school campus reduce maintenance and repairs during the downturn. Many public institutions have jacked into teaching and limited due to the state budget cuts.Qubein take a chance. He has more than doubled the staff entrance, and a $ 500,000 print run TV ad campaign in North Carolina, and the registrar sent to hundreds of high schools in the countries of Northeast and mid-Atlantic, which now account for more than half a Point students. High advertise a flat fee of $ 37,800 for tuition and room and board, parallel to a nearby private college. But the dorm room at an additional cost which can lead to a total of nearly $ 43,000, with room and board costs as 40 percent above the national average for private colleges.Qubein and university officials agreed last year to cap debt at $ 165 million and change variable-rate loans to fixed-rate debt. However, we never worried guardians that the school took over the head. "I strongly believe that you have to spend money to make money, and that's what we did," said Bob Stout, a retired local businessman who served on the board. "As a credit provider, we are definitely convenient," said Henson, BB & T COO at High Point pay trustee.Nor family business Qubein raised eyebrows. Former board chairman says Marsha Slane seeking bids from competitors, and the proposal of the daughter Qubein "are the best deals." This family business consists of consulting firm established in the 1990s Qubein and a public relations firm where he previously served as chairman . The two companies merged and is now owned by three adult children, his eldest daughter to serve as CEO. Qubein is still listed by the North Carolina Secretary of State as the registered agent for the business: "error reporting" university spokesman said Jack Siegel, a Chicago-based attorney who specializes in nonprofit leadership, nonprofit he advises clients to do business with for- profits associated with their directors. While not illegal, he said, they could draw scrutiny from the IRS, which in some cases they determined the amount of additional compensation for official nonprofit. "Unless the service is truly unique, you'd better not use family members," Siegel says.The director of BB & T together with the "problem" as well, said Siegel. Should university having trouble with loan payments, "you've got an incredible conflict of fiduciary duty," Qubein sit on the board of the bank and Henson at the university. Qubein and Henson said that BB & T in providing loans to college with ease by a subsidiary of North Carolina. Either Henson or corporate boards that serve Qubein involved in dealing with the child client company, they claim.How the university has helped the rise of the city High Point is not clear. While it adds hundreds of employees, including professors from the guard, and a construction boom create additional temporary jobs, study shows economic benefits of local colleges and universities often exaggerated, in part because these institutions do not pay taxes. The High Point Economic Development Corp., a group of local business promotion, said the university pumps $ 418 million per year to the local economy, although the annual operating budget of just $ 77 million.City school leaders do not seem to entertain the idea that the plan may fail Qubein. "He never let that happen," said Mayor Rebecca Smothers. "He may be taking a risk, but he does not take stupid risks." In a beautiful new building, High Point seems to do pretty much what you did before: teaching children with moderate overall academic record small classes with teachers generally good and sometimes besar.Ruangan expanded curriculum, including new majors in mathematics and economics and international relations courses in Russian and Arabic. Instructors can apply for grants to purchase equipment or hire research assistants, no funds are available before Qubein took over. "I went here because of the culture," said Daniel Erb, who was recently recruited from Duke as the new dean of the school of health sciences. "There is a can-do attitude." "Professor I always take the time to meet with students outside the classroom," said Alan Albergaria, a junior from Rhode Island, sitting in a hot tub outdoors The $ 19,000. 000 Village complex Greek fraternity and the student that opened last year. "With all the amenities, schools will not be Beat." However, High Point derailed by some traditional academic measures. Percentage of teachers with a Ph.D. or other terminal degree dropped three points, to 69 percent, while the student-faculty ratio has crept from 15 to 1 to 16-1 since 2005. Appointed faculty pay has not kept pace with those top schools in North Carolina. Administrator says Rush charter new teachers for the rapidly growing enrollment accounts for some slippage.What about SAT scores, which jumped to an average total of 1100 for reading and math, up from 1,023 in 2005? One possible reason is the sharp decline in black enrollment, from 24 percent in 2005 to 5.8 percent in the current freshman class. Nationwide, blacks score on average 200 points lower than whites on Sat. (A spokesman for the High Point said the decline in black enrollment "does not explain the increase in our SAT scores," which he said resulted from enrollment to more students with high scores, and less with low scores) student body. not only white, the better. Scholarships were slashed and now only covers an average of 15.9 per cent of the teaching is less than half the rate for private colleges across the country. "Yes, we may have more students in many schools that do not require financial assistance," Qubein said. "If we apologize for? Parents Not much study, the acute financial, they are more intelligent. "The University is very popular among parents who supported her immaculate propriety. Although not implemented, there is a dress code that is quiet. Students maintained, no body piercings or unusual hair color proof. "If you go to class in sweatpants, you will find the place," said Alexa Crawford, a student from California. High Point will be the only college in the United States without a piece of paper stuck on the wall where it can express protest or a movie or used books for sale. They forbidden.Some Qubein most ambitious project is not true. With enrollment expected to grow to 5,000 over the next three years, cash flow may loose to cover the payment of debt of approximately $ 77 million at the time. But there may not be enough money to pay for big-ticket items such as the previously announced $ 70 million building for the school of health sciences. Instead, it may end up to space in shopping centers. Qubein said the "state-of-the-art, NBA-type arena" once planned for 2014 deferred indefinitely.Even if Qubein avoid financial disaster, he left High Point sold now a school with academics OK, wrapped in expensive college kids dazzling rich and entertaining extras. Qubein quietly recognized as he wrapped up his pitch to parents. Move to the edge of the stage, he took a bag of Hershey (HSY) Kisses and a box of Godiva chocolates. Hershey candy costs about $ 4, he tells the audience, Godiva, $ 40. "Both are great," he said, "but only one is superbly located. Presents itself in a way that people will find compellingly good. "He leaned into the audience, Godiva box in the palm of his right hand. "Is not that what you want for your child?"

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