Efficiency and Effectiveness Initiatives

What Business Leaders Should Know About Higher Education’s Million-Dollar Consulting Engagements

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Executive Summary

Once unheard of, dozens of colleges and universities have retained external consultants to conduct extensive efficiency audits since 2008. Across the industry, the recent recession triggered state funding cuts, declines in giving and research funding, and increased tuition dependence. The resulting internal and external pressure to shore up costs and operations led some university leaders to seek outside help for the first time, costing institutions millions of dollars.

So far, results are mixed. No doubt, the increased scrutiny and extra effort led to real savings at many institutions that would have otherwise not been realized. Yet savings have also proven much tougher to achieve than consultants expected, and most schools have fallen short of initial goals.

This briefing outlines the key lessons from these consultant engagements. All colleges and universities can learn from these initiatives, both successes to emulate and mistakes to avoid. The goal of this report is to provide business leaders guidance on where the majority of potential savings lie and tactics to pursue them, and more importantly, eliminate the need for an extensive (and expensive) outside audit.

Learn More

The Business Affairs Forum library contains extensive research on savings opportunities identified by consultants, with detailed best practice solutions and implementation guidance to realize greater efficiencies, service, and cost savings.