In-house study finds UT, A&M among nation’s most efficient universities
A study released Thursday by a University of Texas at Austin researcher says UT is one of the most efficient schools in the country, by some measures of graduation rates and state funding.
Marc Musick, an associate dean at UT’s College of Liberal Arts, compiled the report ahead of this month’s meeting of a UT task force for improving graduation rates. UT’s 81 percent graduation rate over six years is 13th out of the 120 public research universities in the U.S., Musick writes, but the school’s 53 percent rate over four years is “unacceptably low,” he writes.
“Similarly, the university ranks 10th in the percentage of students it graduates for every public dollar it receives. And it is second in the number of faculty it employs for every public dollar it receives,” he writes. UT received $7,353 per student in 2009, the year Musick gathered data from.
As the Texas Tribune reported, the past few months have been long on reports on graduation rates and faculty productivity at UT and Texas A&M — but Musick’s study emphasizes putting their numbers into national perspective:
One noticeable difference between the new report and others that have sparked controversy recently — notably those of Richard Vedder and Rick O’Donnell, both of whom criticized the university for allegedly low faculty productivity — is its scope. “Most of the talk has really focused on UT,” Musick says, “not about how efficient we are compared to other schools.”
According to Musick’s report, Texas A&M has an 80 percent six-year graduation rate, and ranks fourth nationally by his measure of graduation rates per dollar spent.
The University of Florida, was the most efficient at producing graduates, Musick found. Its yearly tuition is about half of UT’s, but it receives $4,000 more per student from the state. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is considering adopting some of the higher education reforms backed by Gov. Rick Perry.
Those “seven breakthrough solutions” introduced by the Texas Public Policy Foundation target faculty course loads, tenure and a split between teaching and research budgets, as mechanisms to lower tuition costs and make college more accessible.
Last week UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced a framework of his own for boosting efficiency at all the UT schools, as the Texas Independent reported. UT-Austin President William Powers Jr. formed a task force of his own earlier this year to help boost the school’s four-year graduation rate to 70 percent, a target, as Powers noted on his blog today, that the University of Michigan and University of California at Berkeley already hit.
Marc Musick UT Analysis on university efficiency