June 3, 2016

CU President's Message: The Administrative Myth

The reality at the University of Colorado is that we are lean administratively. Many factors drive our costs, including state funding (or lack thereof), mandatory costs, technology, utilities and others. Last year we completed an in-depth study (which will be updated this summer) that shows one significant cost driver for tuition is a shift in majors from low-cost (generally liberal arts) to high-cost (STEM fields and business) programs. We are meeting our country's needs in preparing graduates for careers in the knowledge and science sectors - but doing so costs more. Setting aside for the moment the fact that higher education is a complex, multifaceted enterprise and that no single factor drives tuition costs, CU bucks the national narrative about administrative costs.

Our administrative overhead is 28 percent below that of national peers as measured by an apples-to-apples comparison of data presented by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.