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Three-Year-Average Report

The three-year-average report for Table 3 and Table 4 is beneficial to institutions because it provides comparative data earlier in the study cycle (typically around February / March) once an institution’s data has been validated and approved by The Cost Study team.  These benchmark values are calculated averages from all the programs reported at the same CIP4 level over the previous three study years.  Another benefit to this report is that the Three-Year-Average metrics are shown side-by-side with your institution’s data, similar to the Institution Report.

Important Notes about Three-Year-Average Calculations:

  • Programs are first aggregated to the CIP4 level by institution, and then averaged together across the three years. For instance, if one school has 4 programs reporting to CIP 5.01, raw data from all four will be added together and the metrics will be calculated as one aggregated value.  This aggregated value is then used in the mean and refined mean calculations for the three-year-average benchmark.
  • Because these values don’t include comparative data from the current study year, the report is available as soon as your institution’s data is approved in the portal.
  • If there are not at least 5 programs in a given CIP at the 4-digit level across the three study years, then a three-year average benchmark is calculated by utilizing the program data at the 2-digit level.  Here, all programs that fall into the 2-digit CIP are included.  If the 3-year-average value is blank, there were not at least 5 programs across the 3 years in that 2-digit CIP level to produce a comparison value. 
  • When calculating a 3-year-average benchmark for Direct Instructional Expense per Student Credit Hour (DIE/SCH) and Direct Instructional Expense per FTE student (DIE/FTE), there is one caveat that eliminates outlier programs before the standard refined means are calculated.  Any program (or program aggregated at the institution level) that has a DIE/SCH value that is not >= 1 or <=4500 is excluded. The rationale for this decision is because of a methodological issue with the refined means approach. Occasionally a single institution has extremely high costs for a certain program.  If this institution appears in the dataset 3 times (once across each of the three years), the refined means approach does not necessarily remove the institution as an outlier in all three instances.  For all remaining programs in a given CIP at the four-digit level, a mean and standard deviation is calculated. Any value greater or less than 2 standard deviations from the mean are excluded as outliers, and the refined mean is calculated from the rest of the data.

View the Three-Year-Average Report

In the portal, click on the Reports tab and “View Three-Year-Average Report”.  Select the norm group (Carnegie, Highest Degree, or Percent Undergrad), and control type (All, Public, Private) and results will be displayed in the yellow columns, side-by-side with your intitution’s data.  The report defaults to display averages based on ‘Carnegie’ and ‘All’ unless you make changes to the dropdown menus (see screenshot below). Additionally, the report defaults to display metrics for each program your institution submitted, but you can use the drop down menu at the top of the form to aggregate your institution’s data at the 4-digit and 2-digit CIP level.  These tables can be copied to the clipboard one-at-a-time, and then pasted into another program for further analysis.

Three-year-average benchmark values are available for the following calculated metrics:

Table 3A through 3F

  • Undergrad SCH/FTE Faculty (faculty type is based on the table letter A-F)
  • Grad SCH / FTE Faculty
  • Total (undergrad + grad) SCH / FTE Faculty
  • Total OCS / FTE Faculty

Table 3O

  • % online undergrad SCH for the fall
  • % online grad SCH for the fall
  • % online total (undergrad + grad) SCH for the fall

Table 4

  • Direct Instructional Expense / SCH
  • Direct Instructional Expense / FTE Student
  • Personnel Cost as a % of Direct Instructional Expense
  • Research Expense per FTE T/TT Faculty
  • Public Service Expense per FTE T/TT Faculty
  • Research + Public Service Expense per FTE T/TT Faculty

Table 4O

  • % online undergrad SCH based on annual SCH
  • % online grad SCH based on annual SCH
  • % online total (undergrad + grad) SCH based on annual SCH