Tests for Developing a New Student Service Program

Last revised: August 1, 2009 (original publication: January 22, 2003)

The following tests for developing a student services program were developed by SLBA in consultation with college health and student affairs administrators. Various student leaders also provided advice on the development of this document.

  1. Is there a commonweal of need in the student population for the service? Also, does the need evolve whereby most students will require the service at some point during their college experience?

  2. Is the need for the program directly or indirectly linked to the ability of students to meet their educational objectives? Also, does the service directly or indirectly support the classroom learning experience?

  3. Is there a fundamental weakness in private sector programs that can be solved by the institution providing this service? Does the institution have a cost or quality advantage? Are there alternatives whereby the private sector could be induced to provide the program or service (e.g., reduced rental costs for facility space)?

  4. What are the risks/negative consequences if the institution does not provide the program?

  5. Are there special legal requirements (e.g., business licenses, building code requirements, operation licenses, etc.) or ethical stipulations that are applicable to the service? Can the program be designed to fully satisfy the need in the student population, or will there be a caveat emptor element to program marketing that must be recognized by student consumers? Would we be comfortable having members of our own family purchase the proposed service if they were enrolled as students at our institution?

  6. Will the service require special expertise that is outside the realm of skills that are common for the student services division? Will external consultants, managers, or new employees be required to effectively manage the program?

  7. What are the institution's peer colleges or universities doing in response to this need? Are there any trends?

  8. Does the institution have the ability to ethically manage the program so that the best interest of students and the institution are satisfied? What special controls must be developed to assure ethical and legal management of the program?

  9. Does the program have special value in supporting important institutional objectives (e.g., promoting diversity)?

  10. Will the proposed program help to attract qualified students to the institution and/or retain students? What are the cost/benefit tradeoffs if there is mandatory fee funding? If there is a cap on fees, what existing program(s) should be replaced or reduced by the new program?