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.

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 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)

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

  • 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)

  • Ezra KrumhanslSpalding University (Chief Information Officer)
    Eric Satterly, Bellarmine University (Chief Information Officer)*
    Ellucian Colleague Cohort Co-Chairs, Board of Directors (HESS)

  • Anne R Pacione, St. John's University (Chief Information Officer) 
    Troy Thomason, Rollins College (Chief Information Officer)

    Ellucian Banner Cohort Co-chair, Board of Directors (HESS) 

  • Andrew Ryan, Centre College (Chief Information Officer)
    Jenzabar Cohort Chair, Board of Directors (HESS)

  • Trey Arrington, Spartanburg Methodist College (Chief Information Officer)
    Unit 4/CAMS/Three Rivers Cohort Chair, Board of Directors (HESS)

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

  • Brian Baute, Queen's University, Charlotte (Chief Information Officer)
    Todd Norris, Saint Mary's College- Notre Dame, IN. (Chief Information Officer)
    Members-at-Large, Board of Directors (HESS)


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


Allegheny College Hanover College Saint Mary's College
American International College Harding University Saint Mary's College of California
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Christian Theological Seminary Marist College Union College - KY
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Clarke University Mary Baldwin College University of Mary
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Cleveland Institute of Art Maryville College University of Mount Union
Coker College Marywood University University of Pikeville
College of Saint Benedict  / Saint John's University McDaniel College University of Rio Grande / Rio Grande Community College
College of the Atlantic McPherson College University of Saint Francis
Colorado Christian University Mercer University University of St. Francis
Columbia International University Messiah College University of the Incarnate Word
Corban University Midway University Ursinus College
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Dallas Theological Seminary Moody Bible Institute Wagner College
Davidson College Morehouse College Warner University
Delaware Valley University Morningside University Washington & Jefferson College
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Denver Seminary Mount St. Joseph University Wesleyan University
DePauw University Muhlenberg College Wheaton College (IL)
Dominican University National University of Health Sciences Wheaton College (MA)
Dordt University North Central College William James College
Drake University North Greenville University Williams College
Drew University North Park University Wingate University
Duquesne University Northwood University Wofford College
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Hamilton College Roosevelt University  
Hampshire College Saint Joseph's University  
  Rowan College of South Jersey  
  Saint Mary of the Woods  


Our partnering state and organizational associations include: