While email has greatly enhanced the communication and transaction capabilities for colleges, much of the potential savings associated with reduced transaction and communication costs are not being realized.
Historically, the university library has been a massive building at the heart of the college campus offering students a myriad of resources, including volumes of books, periodicals, and documents; staff that offer research assistance; meeting space; and access to advanced research technologies.
The public discussion over the continually rising costs of college is generally focused on tuition fees and sometimes room and board, but often neglects another significant cost –that of educational books and supplies – whose growth also adds to the financial burden of higher education.
Higher education has a history of adapting technologies that are flexible enough to fit into the existing system, while ignoring or pushing aside technologies that are not. Online education has been earmarked for the latter.
A major problem facing today’s higher education institutions is that many students are not graduating on time. This problem is not only prevalent in undergraduate programs, but has a large effect on graduate programs as well.
Lower teaching loads have benefits, especially the increased time that faculty could theoretically devote to preparing for and planning classes. However, they also have costs. In practice, the increased discretionary time of faculty is used for non-educational purposes, primarily research.
Many universities have been busily constructing new buildings, in spite of the fact that most do not make efficient use of the space they do have. Some are even unable to pay to maintain their existing buildings.
Colleges procure a wide range of goods and services, including office supplies, information technology, research materials, food and related services, waste management, employee benefits, marketing services, construction and repairs, and more.
Professors today are required to perform many different types of duties, including instruction, student advisement, service on various committees, and speaking engagements. In addition, faculties face mounting pressure to conduct more research and publish more scholarly pieces.