Profiling institutional productivity, performance and return on investment

Productivity, Performance and Return on Investment: A Baseline Analysis of Tennessee Public Institutions of Higher Education
Tennessee Higher Education Commission. 2010

Tennessee needs to continuously increase its degree productivity by four percent every year from now until 2025. In the midst of this need for increased degree production, the state’s current economic realities indicate public institutions will receive little to no new state appropriated revenues for the foreseeable future. The Master Plan Annual Progress Report measures state and system progress, an accountability tool designed to monitor student success, efficiency and quality. The present report supplements the Progress Report by profiling institutional productivity, performance and return on investment. As the current fiscal environment requires that institutions provide services at a lower cost, campuses and systems must consider the relationship between funding and outcomes. This report analyzes that relationship through widely used indicators: (1) the level of investment, measured by unrestricted state appropriations and tuition and fees per full-time equivalent (FTE) student; (2) the return on that investment, measured by annual awards produced per dollar invested; and (3) and awards produced per 100 FTE. Instead of using first-time freshman cohort graduation rates, which exclude part-time students, those who start in spring semester, and those who begin as transfers, this analysis looks at the number of all degrees, certificates and diplomas awarded relative to student enrollment, adjusted to account for full time attendance. Still, this measure of productivity does not differentiate between one-year certificates or doctoral degrees, nor does it take into consideration programmatic expense. Over the past five years, Tennessee institutions of higher education have become more productive, not only relative to the SREB median but also in the count of awards produced. According to the 2003-2004 survey, Tennessee produced approximately 35,400 degrees and certificates while five years later the same institutions produced 39,500 degrees and awards, an increase of 12 percent. Furthermore, these awards were produced with no real increase in revenues per FTE. When adjusted for inflation to 2008 dollars, revenues available to institutions in 2003-2004 were exactly the same as in 2008-2009 ($10,100 per FTE). (Contains 6 footnotes.)

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One comment on “Profiling institutional productivity, performance and return on investment

  1. bartolini says:

    recommend keep (bjb)
    example of one State’s approach to accountability, performance, transparency (Tennessee)

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