US News has come with a new ranking scheme, and we’re #17. Betsy Hammond has a slightly skeptical report in the Oregonian. And sure enough, if you go to US News you get their definition of efficient:
U.S. News has analyzed efficiency for a second time as both public and private universities continue to face tight budgets – a result of reduced state appropriations and growing consumer resistance to higher tuition. That means it’s imperative for many colleges to spend their limited resources efficiently in order to produce the highest possible educational quality.
U.S. News measures a school’s financial resources by taking into account how much it spends per student on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures. Financial resources have a 10 percent weight in the Best Colleges ranking methodology.
So they exclude the IPEDS spending data on central administration costs? That means paying faculty less to teach more boosts our efficiency, while there’s no penalty for a bloated Johnson Hall. Hell, by that definition, I’m surprised we’re not #1!
Are we the most efficient in the AAU?
Out of the crooked timber that is Johnson Hall, no straight thing was ever made.
The Oregonian article mentions “related educational expenditures.” I doubt that the Oregonian has much of a clue of what U.S. News means by this or where U.S. News gets its info. Here’s (probably) a start:
Interested groups e.g. Delta Cost Project compile data on education related expenditures from the data IPEDS collects.
I don’t know if these include an appropriate portion of central administrative (or other central institutional support costs like heating classrooms), but it would seem reasonable to me that they should.
An appropriately weighted cost of central administration would be something like what, 7% of the education-related budget?