Cost Containment for Higher Education: Strategies for Public Policy and Institutional Administration

Cost Containment for Higher Education: Strategies for Public Policy and Institutional Administration

Cost Containment for Higher Education: Strategies for Public Policy and Institutional Administration

Cost Containment for Higher Education: Strategies for Public Policy and Institutional Administration

Synopsis

Simpson identifies strategies for cost containment or cost reduction in higher education and discusses these strategies in light of their effect on the quality of the learning experience, the future of the academic profession, and the implications for society. The emphasis is on the objectives to be served, rather than the resolution of financial difficulties on the revenue side or on crisis management. Some of the strategies discussed are applicable at particular levels of government; some relate to interinstitutional arrangements; and others are options for individual institutions.

Excerpt

Two imperatives face the United States: that individuals have the opportunity through education to fulfill their potential, and that the investment in our human capital be consonant with an increasingly complex society and competitive world economy.

These imperatives require that our consumption-oriented economy be partially redirected from present gratification to saving and investment in longer-term payoffs, including in particular the development of our human resources. At all levels of education, including higher education, it is relevant to ask: Are we spending enough on education?

Increased expenditure for education is overdue, but the cost of education is already viewed from several perspectives as rising too fast. Those paying tuition find it to be rising faster than both the rate of inflation and per capita disposable income. Schools, colleges, and universities are scrambling to find room for increased costs within their budgets. Government appropriations for education are vulnerable in efforts to curtail budget deficits.

According to data developed in a U.S. Office of Education publication (Snyder, 1988), Education and General Expenditures for colleges and universities in the United States for the period 1980-81 to 1985-86, even after adjustment for inflation and increase in enrollment, increased on average between 3.2 and 5.2 percent per year, depending on the type of institution (university, other four-year, or two-year) and on whether it was public or private. There was no large-scale movement . . .

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