What would be the impact on higher education if all U.S. colleges and universities adopted NCAT's methods to redesign their top 25 courses? The cost of instruction would decrease by approximately 16% annually, and student learning and retention would improve.

Here's how that 16% cost reduction figure is derived:

  • About 42.5% of all higher education enrollments in the U.S. are in the top 25 courses.
  • The average cost reduction of the 30 projects that used NCAT's redesign methodology is 37%.
  • 37% of 42.5% = 16%.
Here's one way of estimating the dollar impact on all higher education spending*:
  • Enrollment in the top 25 courses by sector in Fall 2003 (IPEDS):

      1,412,851 at two-year publics  138,109 at two-year privates
      722,478 at four-year publics  542,982 at four-year privates
      807,014 at public universities  175,005 at private universities

  • Average cost of top 25 courses by sector in Fiscal Year 2003:

      $5,792,689,100 at two-year publics  $945,078,861 at two-year privates
      $3,702,701,800 at four-year publics  $4,644,670,594 at four-year privates
      $8,271,896,063 at public universities  $2,993,983,829 at private universities

  • Total cost of top 25 courses = $26,351,020,246 (sector enrollments times sector lower-division cost per FTE).

  • Savings = $9,749,877,491 per year (total cost of top 25 courses multiplied by 37%).

    * Estimates vary on the total higher education expenditures on lower-division instruction, making it difficult to pin down the exact dollar value of the savings.


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