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July 27, 2010 3:49 PM Administrators Recommend Cutting Administrative Waste

By Daniel Luzer

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Here’s one potential way to control the cost of college. According to an article by Josh Keller in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Universities must attack their growth in administrative spending by undertaking a thorough review of their business operations and convincing campus groups of the necessity of major restructuring, panelists from three prominent universities said at the annual meeting of university business officers on Sunday.
The well-attended session on the first day of the National Association of College and University Business Officers’ meeting focused on the cost-cutting efforts at three universities.

The three universities were Cornell, Berkeley, and UNC-Chapel Hill. The panelists from these schools praised their own cost savings plans. According to the article the schools “had pursued strategies that are broadly similar: to seek savings in administrative areas, such as purchasing and information technology, while studiously avoiding a parallel effort in more-contested academic terrain such as instruction, teaching, and tenure.”

The officials avoided addressing whether or not there might be cost savings in, say, reducing superfluous administrative positions. The Berkeley official, for instance, holds the title “vice chancellor for strategy and planning.” The vice chancellor earns $200,000 a year. He also receives an additional $10,000 annually as part of his university’s “Senior Management Supplemental Benefit Program.”

The three universities began their project back in November after an anonymous donor gave the schools an undisclosed amount of money to hire Bain & Company to help them save money. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer