By Sibyl West | by Richard Vedder, Christopher Matgouranis, Jonathan Robe
If bottom 80 percent were half as productive as top 20 percent, tuition could be cut in half
AUSTIN – At a time of alarming tuition costs and economic uncertainties, an analysis of the preliminary data released earlier this month by the University of Texas System shows one of the state’s flagship universities could make tuition vastly more affordable by moderately increasing faculty emphasis on teaching.
The Center for College Affordability and Productivity conducted the study titled “Faculty Productivity and Costs at The University of Texas at Austin.” The study assesses faculty productivity at UT-Austin in terms of both research and teaching by delving into the data on faculty compensation, teaching loads and external research grant awards released by the University of Texas system.
“Our analysis shows that there is clearly room for improvement in terms of faculty productivity at UT Austin,” said Dr. Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and a co-author of the study. “Simply by having faculty teach more students or courses, students and taxpayers will benefit significantly by reduced university costs.” Read More
By: Matt S Dowling
There has been a lot of debate on how to rein in tuition cost and a new study released by the Center for Affordability and Productivity shows some very interesting data. It analyzes the University of Texas and the workload of professors in conjunction with research funding. This study might redefine on how we look at university funding, so let’s jump right in:
- 20 percent of UT Austin faculty are teaching 57 percent of student credit hours. They also generate 18 percent of the campus’s research funding. This suggests that these faculty are not jeopardizing their status as researchers by assuming such a high level of teaching responsibility.
- Conversely, the least productive 20 percent of faculty teach only 2 percent of all student credit hours and generate a disproportionately smaller percentage of external research funding than do other faculty segments.
- Research grant funds go almost entirely (99.8 percent) to a small minority (20 percent) of the faculty; only 2 percent of the faculty conduct 57 percent of funded research.
So what does all of this mean? Read More
By David Guenthner
Modest improvements in faculty productivity could allow for substantial tuition reductions without threatening tenure or affecting externally funded research
AUSTIN – Modest increases in teaching loads at the University of Texas at Austin would produce hundreds of millions of dollars in savings to taxpayers and students, according to a preliminary analysis of faculty data released today by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP).
“These findings bring to light very real opportunities to provide a better education to students at vastly lower costs while preserving UT-Austin’s ability to conduct world-class research,” said David Guenthner, the Foundation’s senior communications director. “The data conclusively demonstrates that there is room for a greater emphasis on classroom instruction, while preserving UT-Austin’s prized Tier One status.”
Key findings of the CCAP analysis: Read More
Higher education officials estimate nearly 30,000 fewer students would get Texas Grants under financial aid decisions made Monday by legislative negotiators.
A total of 106,000 students got Texas grants in the current two-year budget period.
The budget proposal would cover 77,300, including all 44,200 of those who are renewals and the rest students getting first-time awards.
The vote on higher education funding came as House and Senate negotiators made final decisions on a state budget plan for the next two years. They plan to formally vote on the overall budget Thursday, sending the compromise to the full House and Senate for consideration.
The financial aid reduction is the best higher education officials could have hoped for since it followed the more generous Senate proposal. Read More
Apparently our state’s colleges and universities don’t have enough to do, so they’re trying to get permission to compete with private-sector telecomm providers. Given how little time so many university employees devote to students, at ever rising tuition rates, one wonders just how expensive this foray will be for taxpayers.
The Texas Senate’s prime apologist for the higher education status quo, State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (R-Laredo) is trying to let universities sell telecomm services already provided by multiple private sector firms. Worse, she would allow the universities to be shielded from competitive bidding when going after contracts with other state agencies.
(Remember, Sen. Zaffirini is the one took an eltist tone last week by implying that those people without advanced degrees have no business commenting on the operations of our universities; we should just shut-up and pay the bills.) Read More
Most college students drop a course on occasion. Some drop them often, change majors on a whim or drop out of school entirely.
These students have wasted more than their own time and tuition money. There’s also the lost investment that taxpayers made in subsidizing their education.
Texas has a weak record in keeping undergraduates focused on completing their coursework: It ranks third among states in the amount it spends on students who drop out their first year. Measured over five years, that adds up to $471 million in taxpayers’ money. Read More
By Eric Dexheimer
Twenty percent of University of Texas at Austin professors instruct most of the school’s students, while the least-productive fifth of the faculty carry only 2 percent of the university’s teaching load, according to an analysis of recently released data by a researcher with ties to an Austin organization promoting controversial changes in how the state runs its higher education system. Meanwhile, 10 percent of the faculty bring in 90 percent of its research grants.
The UT System’s flagship school could save taxpayers millions of dollars by increasing professors’ teaching loads and jettisoning under-performing instructors without jeopardizing the school’s commitment to research, said Richard Vedder, an economics professor and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Read More
One positive result of our nation’s economic difficulties is the renewed impetus to hold taxpayer
-funded- entities accountable, and to implement reforms where applicable. Unfortunately, when Governor Perry attempted to apply those standards to Texas Institutions of Higher Learning
, we discovered a whole new herd of sacred cows.
Governor Perry has been a proponent of State Higher Education reforms for quite some time, but he renewed his push this session in light of our current economic difficulties. In his inaugural address, Perry challenged universities to establish a $10,000 four-year degree. Most university personnel ridiculed the proposal and claimed it was impossible. But is it?
According to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, per-student operating costs at universities in Texas have grown dramatically; in 1991 statewide average per-student was $10,665, but by 2008 it had increased to $18,571, a 74.1% increase. This explosion in costs is largely due to administration and faculty trends. Administration costs have increased by 52% over the last decade, and nationally non-teaching staff now make up for 79% of personnel. (Sound familiar? Like our tax-payer funded public school system on steroids?) Read More