If across-the-board cuts to academic expenditures can harm quality and create unintended inefficiencies, where do the more promising opportunities for cost savings lie? EAB research has identified five primary levers, or areas of opportunity, within academic departments.
1. Section fill rates
Student enrollment in course sections averages about 60% of maximum capacity at most institutions, with as many as 20% of all sections less than half full (at the same time that many are over capacity).
In particular, universities commonly offer more sections of multi-section courses than are necessary to meet student demand. In some cases, up to 30% of all sections offered could be consolidated (in theory) while still accommodating all student demand and without increasing existing course caps.
Looking for more on realigning resources without sacrificing quality?
The Academic Affairs Forum offers a range of resources—including best-practice research—to help academic leaders control academic costs and support institutional priorities. Speak with an expert to learn more about the support we offer.
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Breaking the Trade-Off Between Cost and Quality