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Containing Costs at State Colleges and Universities

April 14, 2008

More than 80 percent of the 114 American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) member colleges who responded to a recent AASCU and SunGard Higher Education survey reported that cost containment at their institutions was "very" or "extremely" important. In addition, more than three-quarters report being "very" or "adequately" satisfied with their institution’s cost containment activities. However, despite institutions placing high importance on the issue of cost containment, only a small number (12 percent) actually set aside resources (funding, staff, and time) to a "significant" extent to identify and implement cost containment measures, and 62 percent do not regularly report their cost containment savings.

Oversight for cost containment activities for almost 40 percent of institutions is centralized in the business office, with institutions most often relying on the areas of facilities and infrastructure, business services/processes, and academic programming to contain costs. For example, 83 percent rely on energy management to reduce operating costs and more than 60 percent have looked to consortium purchasing for cost reductions.

The full report, Cost Containment: A Survey of Current Practices at America’s State College and Universities can be downloaded for free from AASCU's website, and provides further details on cost savings and recommendations for institutions.