Report suggests consolidating course sections to reduce costs

October 15, 2014

A new report from the Education Advisory Board suggests that colleges and universities could cut costs without sacrificing student-faculty ratios simply by consolidating courses with empty seats. The report draws on data from 7 US colleges, and the authors say that their data can be used to limit the number of “superfluous sections” and help administrators prioritize their investments in smaller courses. According to the researchers’ data, 40% of sections are less than 70% filled to capacity. They also found that one institution stood to save $300,000 in adjunct teaching costs and $1.5 M in full-time faculty costs by consolidating lower-division anthropology courses. However, similar approaches at other schools have met criticism from faculty. Others have pointed out that a higher number of sections may be necessary in order to provide course times that fit with students’ schedules. Inside Higher Ed