About HESS and Join Now!


In March 2014, a small group of private, non-profit college and university chief information officers and chief financial officers began discussing the need for a new organization focusing on the rising costs of technology in higher education, specifically in the ERP industry.  The original founding leaders included (positions at that time) Micheal Boehm (former CIO, Saint Mary's College- IN), Keith Fowlkes (former CIO, Centre College), Bob Keasler (former CFO, Centre College), Penny Evans-Plants (CIO, Berry College), Fred Miller (former CIO, Furman University), Eric Satterly (CIO, Bellarmine University) and Carol Smith (CIO, Depauw University).  These higher education leaders then invited a number of their colleagues from other institutions to a planned gathering in Louisville, KY to discuss the formation of a new consortium, specifically for private, non-profit colleges and universities.

At Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY on June 5, 2014, a meeting of CFOs and CIOs from 42 private higher education 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 primarily a community of practice among CIOs and CFOs in private, non-profit higher education.  One of our major focuses is on collectively lowering costs and increasing collaboration between specifically private colleges and universities in the area of administrative systems and services. 
[click here to view our membership]

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 or click the "Join Online" button to the right.

Membership fees are $499 annually.
(PLEASE NOTE: Membership Dues have been waived for the 2020-2021 year)

If 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 and discounts for private, non-profit institutions
  • Access to the HESS Online Leadership Community (OLC) site, a discussion and collaboration web resource for CIO collaboration and commununication.
  • Access to the HESS database of private, non-profit member institutions, their solution providers and CIO/CTO contacts.
  • 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
  • Monthly HESS Webinars with partner companies, consultants and other HESS members on a variety of products and topics
  • 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 via the HESS OLC site.

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:

  • Co-founder, President, Board of Directors (HESS)
    Carol Smith, DePauw University (Chief Information Officer)*

  • Co-founder, Executive Director & Vice President, Board of Directors (HESS)
    Keith Fowlkes, E&I Cooperative Services (VP, Technology Contracts & former higher education CIO)*

  • Secretary, Board of Directors (HESS)
    Penny Evans-Plants, Berry College (Chief Information Officer)*

  • Treasurer, Board of Directors (HESS)
    Mark Coleman, Lindsey Wilson College (Vice President for Administration and Finance)

  • Anthology Cohort Co-chairs, Board of Directors (HESS)
    Paul Dupree, Asbury University (Chief Information Officer)*
    Kirk Bay, Mercer University (Exec. Director, Application Services)

  • Ellucian Colleague Cohort Co-Chairs, Board of Directors (HESS)
    Ezra Krumhansl
    , Spalding University (Chief Information Officer)

    Eric Satterly, Bellarmine University (Chief Information Officer)*

  • Ellucian Banner Cohort Co-chair, Board of Directors (HESS) 
    Anne R Pacione, St. John's University (Chief Information Officer) 
    Troy Thomason, Rollins College (Chief Information Officer)

  • Jenzabar Cohort Chair, Board of Directors (HESS)
    Andrew Ryan, Centre College (Chief Information Officer)
    Kenitra Horsley, Queen's College of Charlottesville (Interim Chief Information Officer)

  • Oracle Cohort Co-chairs, Board of Directors (HESS)
    Todd Norris, Saint Mary's College- Notre Dame, IN. (Chief Information Officer)
    Gene Spencer, Ursinus College (Chief Information Officer)

  • Unit 4/ CAMS/ Three Rivers Cohort Chair, Board of Directors (HESS)

  • Workday Cohort Co-Chairs, Board of Directors (HESS)
    Spencer Golden, Haverford College (Associate Chief Information Officer)
    Maria Piret, Lynn University (Director, Information Systems)

  • Trey Arrington, Spartanburg Methodist College (Chief Information Officer)
    Members-at-Large, Board of Directors (HESS)


The HESS Consortium Membership
as of 5/6/2022

Abilene Christian University George Washington University Presbyterian College
Adelphi University Georgetown College Prescott College
Adrian College Gordon College Principia College
Agnes Scott College Goshen College Queens University of Charlotte
Albion College Grace College & Seminary Ranken Technical College
Albright College Graceland University Rhodes College
Allegheny College Greenville University Rider University
American International College Grinnell College Roanoke College
Amherst College Guilford College Robert Morris University
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Gustavus Adolphus College Rollins College
Anderson University Hamilton College Roosevelt University
Aquinas College Hampshire College Rowan College of South Jersey
Arcadia University Hanover College Saint Joseph's University
Asbury University Harding University Saint Mary of the Woods
Ashland University Haverford College Saint Mary's College
Assumption University Hawaii Pacific University Saint Mary's College of California
Augsburg University Hiram College Saint Vincent College
Augustana University Hodges University Saint Xavier University
Aurora University Holy Cross College - Notre Dame, IN Sarah Lawrence College
Austin College Huntington University School for International Training
Averett University Illinois Institute of Technology Seattle Pacific University
Bellarmine University Illinois Wesleyan University Seattle University
Belmont University Indiana Tech Seton Hall University
Beloit College Iowa Wesleyan University Seton Hill University
Bennington College Ithaca College Sewanee: The University of the South
Berry College John Brown University Shenandoah University
Bluefield College John Carroll University Sherman College of Chiropratic
Bob Jones University Juniata College South Texas College of Law Houston
Brenau University Kenyon College Southeastern University
Brewton-Parker College King University Southern College of Optometry
Bryan College Knox College Southwestern University
Bushnell University La Salle University Spalding University
Cairn University LaGrange College Spartanburg Methodist College
California Institute of Technology Lake Forest College Spelman College
California Institute of the Arts Lasell University Spring Arbor University
California Lutheran University Lawrence University St. John Fisher College
Calumet College of St. Joseph Lee University St. John's University
Campbell University LeTourneau University St. Lawrence University
Campbellsville University Life University St. Mary's University (TX)
Carleton College Limestone University St. Olaf College
Carroll University Lindsey Wilson College Susquehanna University
Catawba College Lipscomb University Sweet Briar College
Cedarville University Loras College Taylor University
Central College Lourdes University Tennessee Wesleyan University
Centre College Lubbock Christian University Texas Wesleyan University
Charleston Southern University Luther College The College of Wooster
Christian Theological Seminary Luther Seminary The King's College (NY)
Claflin University Lynn University The University of Findlay
Clark Atlanta University Macalester College Thomas More College
Clarke University Manchester University Toccoa Falls College
Clarkson College Marist College Transylvania University
Cleveland Institute of Art Mars Hill University Trine University
Coker University Martin University Trinity College
College of Saint Benedict  / Saint John's University Mary Baldwin College Trinity University
College of the Atlantic Marymount Manhattan College Truett McConnell University
Colorado Christian University Maryville College Tusculum University
Columbia International University Marywood University Union College - KY
Concordia University- Chicago McDaniel College Union University - TN
Converse University McPherson College University of Dallas
Corban University Mercer University University of Lynchburg
Covenant College Messiah College University of Mary
Daemen College Midway University University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Dallas Theological Seminary Millsaps College University of Mount Union
Davidson College Misericordia University University of Pikeville
Delaware Valley University Mississippi College University of Portland
Denison University Moody Bible Institute University of Rio Grande / Rio Grande Community College
Denver Seminary Morehouse College University of Saint Francis (IN)
DePauw University Morningside University University of St. Francis (IL)
Dickinson College Mount Holyoke College University of the Incarnate Word
Dominican University Mount Marty University Ursinus College
Dordt University Mount St. Joseph University Vassar College
Drake University Muhlenberg College Virginia Wesleyan University
Drew University Naropa University Wabash College
Duquesne University National University of Health Sciences Wagner College
Earlham College North Central College Warner University
Elmhurst University North Greenville University Washington & Jefferson College
Elmira College North Park University Washington and Lee University
Erskine College Northwood University Wesleyan College
Fairfield University Norwich University Wesleyan University
Fairleigh Dickinson University Oak Point University Wheaton College (IL)
Faulkner University Oakwood University Wheaton College (MA)
Ferrum College Oberlin College William James College
Flagler College Ohio Dominican University Williams College
Florida College Ohio Northern University Wingate University
Franklin & Marshall College Ohio Wesleyan University Wofford College
Furman University Palmer College of Chiropractic Xavier University 
Gannon University Paul Smith's College York College of Pennsylvania
  Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences  
  Piedmont College  

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