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.

Welcome to the 2020 National Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity – The Cost Study for the 2019 Fall Semester and 2019 - 2020 Academic Year

Expanded Benchmarking Options Now Available   We are excited to introduce expanded options for data validation and benchmarking using three-year averages for key productivity and cost metrics in the web portal. By selecting the “View for Submission” button at the bottom of the data entry page, each academic department may use the three-year averages in Table 3 for student credit hours and class sections taught by faculty level and in Table 4 for the cost per student credit hour and cost per FTE student. You may tailor comparisons by selecting any of the national norm categories: Carnegie class, highest degree awarded or proportion of undergraduate degrees awarded. In addition, you can filter the selection based on public or private control. We are confident this feature will be very useful as it provides a mechanism for our participants to share information with department chairs and deans.

Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) Models Facilitate Continuous Improvement by Identifying Highly Productive and Efficient Departments
In many benchmarking studies, department-level comparisons are made by selecting institutional peers. There can be a significant mismatch between institutional characteristics and departmental realities. As an alternative to relying on a means-centered approach that may suffer from such a misalignment, we have used data envelopment analysis (DEA) to examine efficiency among like programs submitted to the Delaware Cost Study. Using data from the 2012 through 2016 cycles of the cost study, while controlling for departmental size and cost, DEA identifies an efficiency frontier in a multidimensional productivity space. For programs not operating at the efficiency frontier, DEA will identify pathways to reach the production levels of the efficient programs. Four customized DEA models allow targeting departments with similar staffing configurations. An array of methods are used for group selection: matching highest degrees, quartile proportion of undergraduate degrees or the use of a structural equation latent-class model and cluster analysis for programs with significant externally funded grant support.
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

Sharing the Cost Study Data with Chairs and Deans: Results from the Cost Study Administrators Survey and the View-Only Feature on the Web Portal
Thank you to everyone that participated in the Fall 2017 Cost Study Administrators Survey. The purpose of this survey was to gather more information about the level of interaction between Cost Study Administrators and the chairs and directors at their college or university. Final results from the survey reveal that only a small percentage of Administrators are utilizing chairs and directors to validate discipline-level Cost Study data before it is submitted. While sharing the final results with chairs and directors is more common, we did find that the View-Only feature on the web portal is not utilized to its full potential. The View-Only features allows administrators to grant view-only access of the data to all the important decision-makers at their institution. Click here for more information about the Administrators Survey and the View-Only feature on the web portal.