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Goldwater Institute Ranks UCR in Top 20

Goldwater Institute Ranks UCR in Top 20

The watchdog organization rates UCR as one of the nation’s best at controlling administrative costs.

(August 27, 2010)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The University of California, Riverside is one of the best stewards of its financial resources among the nation’s leading universities, according to a report by a conservative government watchdog organization.

UCR was one of 20 leading public and private universities, out of 198 examined by the Phoenix, Ariz.-based Goldwater Institute, where the number of administrators per 100 students declined between 1993 and 2007. Nationally, the number of administrators increased 39.3 percent in that 14-year period. At UC Riverside, the ratio of administrators to students decreased by 2.5 percent.

At the same time, the ratio of full-time employees to students declined by 27.3 percent – a period when enrollment nearly doubled – the ratio of spending to enrollment decreased by 21 percent.

That these efficiencies were occurring before the California Legislature cut the University of California budget by $813 million in 2009-10 – a 20 percent reduction in spending systemwide that resulted in layoffs and furloughs – is further testament to UCR’s efforts to streamline its operations, said Dallas Rabenstein, executive vice chancellor and provost. A strategic plan that will outline campus priorities through 2020 will be unveiled this fall.

“We continue to look for efficiencies in our day-to-day operations without compromising the quality of education and research for which our campus is known around the world,” said Rabenstein. “We are mindful of the need to preserve the mission of the University of California – teaching, research and service – and to continue to be good stewards of taxpayer funding. We are also aware of the burden higher fees are placing on our students and their families, and we are working to develop new revenue sources to support them.

“That said, the precipitous decline in state support of public higher education and re-ordering of spending priorities in favor of prisons is a public policy that, if continued, will have dire consequences for California’s ability to prosper in a global economy.”

Since 1990, the state’s annual appropriation to the University of California has declined in inflation-adjusted dollars by 54 percent, according to the UC Annual Accountability Report submitted to the Legislature in May 2010. The university’s share of the state’s general fund has dropped from 8.1 percent in 1966-67 to 3.1 percent in 2009-10. At the same time, spending for the Department Corrections and Rehabilitation grew from 4 percent to almost 11 percent of the state budget.

As the state’s share of funding what is arguably the premier public research university in the nation has dwindled, UC has steadily increased its reliance on non-state funding; notably, higher student fees and aggressive pursuit of federal and other research grants.

The Goldwater Institute report, “Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education,” analyzed data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The institute examined public and private four-year colleges that also grant doctorates and engage in a high or very high level of research.

“The cost of higher education has been rising at a remarkable pace over the last several decades,” the authors wrote. “Between 1993 and 2007, inflation-adjusted tuition has increased by 66.7 percent at the nation’s 198 leading public and private universities. During the same period, the number of students enrolled in these leading institutions has increased by 14.5 percent, from 3.64 million to 4.17 million.

“Despite this significant increase in scale, with more students and more resources, higher education has become significantly less efficient. It takes more employees and more dollars to educate each student even as these leading universities grow larger.”

The IPEDS administration category includes administrators/executives and “other professionals” such as purchasing agents, human resources specialists, financial aid counselors, accountants and auditors.

The report found that between 1993 and 2007 UC Riverside:

• Ranked 19th by percentage change – down 2.5 percent – for the number of administrators per 100 students, among the best of the 198 universities reviewed. The number of administrators per 100 students decreased from 140 to 99. The university was 12th best in reducing spending on administrators.

• Reduced the ratio of full-time employees per 100 students by 27.3 percent.

The Goldwater Institute was founded in 1988 with the blessing of longtime Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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