UMW Compares Favorably in Two Recent Higher Education Reports

The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) undertook a review of the Virginia higher education institutions relative to each institution’s SCHEV-approved peer group.  Their 2010 report compared institutional performance on a number of measures such as first-year retention rate, six-year graduation rate, undergraduate credentials per 100 FTE undergraduates, and productivity measures (efficiency with respect to the cost to produce degrees). 

The study compared UMW’s performance to the average of all institutions within the same Carnegie classification and to UMW’s SCHEV peer group.  A digest of the report, prepared by Paul Messplay, Executive Director of Budget Analysis, is available here.  Contact Paul if you are interested in learning additional details about the study.  Among the highlights from the study are these points:

• UMW’s six-year graduation rate of 77% greatly exceeded the peer group average of 58% and the Carnegie group average of 43.4%.

• UMW’s average of 24.6 undergraduate credentials (degrees, certificates, etc.) awarded per 100 FTE undergraduates greatly exceeded the peer group average of 21 credentials per 100 undergraduate FTE and the Carnegie group average of 19.5 credentials per 100 undergraduate FTE.

• UMW’s performance relative to expenditure, a combined index rating measuring retention, degrees, and credentials awarded per 100 undergraduate FTE, stood at 128; the average index for SCHEV peers was 100, and the Carnegie group index was 100.5. (A higher index represents greater productivity and efficiency.)

The second report mentioning UMW performance was made by Anthony A. Maggio on November 17 to the Virginia House of Delegates Appropriations Committee. Maggio is a Legislative Fiscal Analyst for the House Appropriations Committee Staff.  His report offers a thorough summary of higher education finances, productivity, and opportunities for productivity improvements at Virginia Colleges and Universities.  What’s reported about UMW stands out in a number of ways.

The full report, available here, is exhaustive.  To fully appreciate the summary that follows, you’ll need to see these points in the context of the full report.  But it is worth noting that:

• Since the 2008 General Assembly session, tuition and fee revenues at Virginia Colleges and Universities have risen by 125%.  (General fund appropriations have declined by almost $415 million over the same period.)  Revenue increases range from a high of 185% at the VCCS to a low of 36% at UVa-Wise.  UMW’s increase over this period was 97%, placing us just about in the middle. (See page 15 of the report.)

• In FY 2002, about 17% of the teaching faculty in comprehensive colleges and universities in Virginia were part-time; in fiscal year 2009, this figure increased to a little more than 18%.  In fiscal year 2009, UMW’s percentage of part-time faculty is 15%. (See page 26 of the report.)

• In looking at degrees produced in comparison to the amount spent per student FTE, the report placed UMW in the grouping of institutions that had higher degree production at lower cost.  (See page 35 of the report.)

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