The Higher Education Consortia, organized under the guidance of managerial and analytical staff in the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at the University of Delaware, is composed of a diverse group of four-year, non-profit colleges and universities that contribute data to the National Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity – otherwise known as The Cost Study. The consortia annually produces data and analysis for a group of approximately two hundred institutions. These institutions which are both publicly and privately governed compose the foundation of the consortia. In addition, the consortia works with a number of state systems of higher education, regional university associations and a group of public policy economists to collaborate in research to better understand the dynamics of instructional productivity and costs at the academic discipline level. By using the longitudinal data of The Cost Study from over a twenty-five year period, the consortia has developed a number of academic papers and brief annual reports to advance the public understanding of the changing realities that affect the productivity and cost of teaching while providing some context about the amount of grant-funded research and public service activity that accompanies instruction. The consortia has produced advanced statistical models to identify efficient programs in terms of their teaching productivity which are differentiated at the academic discipline level and by faculty type and course level. The Higher Education Consortia Advisory Board, composed of representatives from all of the Carnegie classified groups in the study, meets quarterly to provide direction and guidance in setting policy and toward reaching the goals of advancing the continuous refinement of the study and the appropriate use of the consortia data for institutional planning and improvement.
Education Policy Initiative (EPI) Study of Cost Drivers 1996-2016 published in the NBER in Nov. 2018
This project is a collaboration with public policy economists Kevin Stange of the University of Michigan and Steven Hemelt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study provides a longitudinal perspective on cost drivers at the academic discipline level. It will address questions including: How do costs vary across disciplinary and institutional classifications? How have productivity changes influenced costs? What is the net effect of the decrease in state support for higher education over time and what variation is apparent based on discipline? Have institutions decreased investment in smaller classes, reduced lower or upper division class section offerings, or shifted more teaching to non-tenure-track faculty? How do costs differ based on public or private control? It will also describe how departments have been able to rein in costs and what decisions have led to increases in costs