Vytautas Magnus University has to remember that it is a business, its students are the consumers, and that education is not the only commodity for sale. Young people are potential consumers for several possibly lucrative endeavors and ignoring those opportunities hurts both the university and the students it aims to serve. The greater a university’s income, the better they can afford to employ prominent professors, the finer the facilities they offer will be, and the more prestigious the degree they offer will be.
Students don’t just need classes. They need somewhere to live, eat, socialize, and even books for their classes. They are a mass of consumers waiting to be directed and mobilized. Why let the student body wander aimlessly and independently when their cohesion could benefit them and profit the university?
Expanded dormitories: Hundreds or even thousands of freshmen enter the university and seek their own living space. They also wish to socialize and bond with their new peers. Why not purchase more buildings for dormitory space. A 50% increase of the monthly rents being charged at current dormitories would still be cheaper than most real estate options and students would benefit from additional community, security, and convenience. Send parents, of soon to be students, brochures of the dormitory options and subtly remind them of the expense and dangers of their children living in their own apartments. Tell them that genders will be kept on separate floors, alcohol use discouraged, and security will be vigilant. First year students will be far more likely to sign up for dormitories and once they have lived like this for a year they will be more likely to request it for future semesters.
Also, cheaper real estate can be purchased outside the center of the city and shuttles/buses can be offered throughout the day. Let students pay a slight membership fee for the service or simply add the cost on to the room rents already charged.
Cafeterias: Students want to eat cheaply and for a reasonable price. Set-up University sponsored cafeterias around the campus and around student housing and schedule periods of service: 9am-11am, 12:30am-2pm, and 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Sell students packages each semester that get them 5, 10, or 15 meals per week. Students will be compelled to this process because it is simple (especially if they are living at distant dormitories) and their parents will enjoy the additional control they are offered over their child’s budget. The guarantee of a large consumer base and a short list of meal options will permit much cheaper bulk buying and students will unlikely use all of their meals each week.
Student Book Store: Simple. Have professors give a large student bookstore a list of the books that will be required for their courses. Let the bookstore pre-fill for the anticipated purchases and make sure the university advertises this convenience. Buy back the books at the end of the semester (if the professor plans to use them again) for significantly less than the original price and then sell the books back used the next semester for slightly less than the original price. Many students will go online or simply share books amongst themselves, but enough will purchase from the store to make it profitable.