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Great Expectations, Bleaker Results

By Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed

Higher education consultants tend to project savings beyond what colleges can achieve, sometimes don’t understand the complexities of the institutions they advise, and fail to appreciate the politics around the changes they propose, according to a new study by the Education Advisory Board.

The group, a business that produces research for colleges on some of the same issues on which some institutions hire consultants, did a detailed analysis of cost-reduction efforts at 21 different colleges and universities that hired outside consultants.

Consultants had told those institutions they could, on average, save up to 4 percent of their operating costs if their recommendations were adopted.

The colleges, the study found, saved far less. On many campuses that have hired consultants or considered doing so, faculty leaders have questioned the cost and relative benefits of such arrangements.

Full Article




Despite Success, Some Shortcomings in Texas Higher Ed

by Reeve Hamilton, The Texas Tribune

For nearly 14 years, the state’s higher education policy has been guided by a plan, adopted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, called “Closing the Gaps by 2015.” As the name suggests, time is running short.

Many of those who have tracked the progress of the plan, which was designed to bring the state’s higher education performance up to par with — not move it ahead of — comparable states, credit it with pushing back a discouraging tide.

“It is unquestionably a success overall,” said Fred Heldenfels, who recently cycled off the coordinating board after serving as its chairman for more than three years, “but there are certainly some asterisks.”

Some objectives in key areas — including college enrollment among certain ethnic groups and degrees awarded in math and science — are simply unlikely to be met by the 2015 deadline.

Full Article




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