Study: Public institutions spend with great efficiency
- An assessment of hundreds of public masters-granting institutions shows that a majority of institutions spend institutional resources with high efficiency, with short-term spending indices yielding a 91% mean of efficiency, and long-term metrics revealing an 85% mark.
- The survey indicates that these institutions trend towards more financial support of undergraduate education, a practice that could increase costs because graduate education helps to finance undergraduate operations, and supports infrastructure through doctoral-level research and doctoral students serving as teaching assistants.
- Addressing bloated administrative salaries and consolidating processes are ways to increase efficiency even more, according to University of Maryland professor and lead study author Marvin Titus.
For many minority-serving and mid-sized institutions, this study represents a groundbreaking view of how legislators should consider higher education spending and the prospect of cutting budgets. While the research did not include large public flagship institutions, the included schools do showcase a pattern of wise spending even in the face of decreasing resources.
For university leaders, this kind of data helps to make the case for increased funding for academic development, particularly in graduate education. Interestingly, the tenure of leadership at institutions like Bowie State University and Savannah State University, where presidents with more than five years of service have successfully developed programming and campus growth while maintaining efficiency, may be a factor in institutional budget management.
- Inside Higher Ed Spending your tax dollars