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ERIC Number: EJ918064
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
Performance and Costs in Higher Education: A Proposal for Better Data
Capaldi, Elizabeth D.; Abbey, Craig W.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v43 n2 p8-15 2011
Although virtually all universities have accounting systems that track every dollar in accordance with the accounting rules required by auditors, these systems are not adequate to inform their leaders or the public about the profit and loss, productivity, or efficiency of their activities. Instead, they obscure the different revenue sources on which universities rely, the true costs of core functions such as teaching and research, the cross-subsidies of some functions by others, administrative growth or shrinkage, and differences among disciplines. Without this information, institutional managers simply cannot make wise decisions. Given the current financial crisis facing states and individuals (who between them are the major funders of public institutions), colleges and universities need to focus on improving performance within their available resources while maintaining quality. The lack of good data hampers their ability to achieve these ends and interferes with the ability of states, boards, and other constituencies to understand their performance. Without good and comparable data, there cannot be meaningful benchmarking of performance. In this article, the authors describe some of the important information that gets buried in higher education budgets and suggest ways to present data that would be both useful for managing to maximize efficiency--and thereby generating revenue to maintain and increase quality--and comprehensible to external constituencies that are trying to understand the performance and effectiveness of universities. (Contains 2 figures, 3 tables and 7 resources.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona