Miami University is the second most efficient school among national universities ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
In a ranking out today (Dec. 19), editors at U.S. News say Miami (OH) and Florida State, which ranked first, are "able to produce the highest educational quality, as determined by their place in the 2014 Best Colleges rankings, but spend relatively less on educational programs to achieve that quality."
"… it's imperative for many colleges to spend their limited resources efficiently in order to produce the highest possible educational quality," said Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News & World Report.
Miami's efficient use of funds stands out in a year when both U.S. President Barack Obama and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have called on greater accountability at universities.
U.S. News measures a school's financial resources by considering how much it spends per student on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures. Last year, the first time U.S. News reported on efficiency among its ranked universities, Miami was listed as third most efficient among national schools.
U.S. News defines operating efficiency for this list as a school's 2012 fiscal year financial resources per student divided by its overall score – the basis U.S. News uses to determine its overall numerical rank – in the 2014 Best Colleges rankings. This calculation reveals how much each school is spending to achieve one point in the overall score and its position in the rankings. Using the magazine's formula, Miami's spending per student for each point in the U.S. News overall score was $374.64.
In order to appear on the list, schools had to be numerically ranked in the top half of their U.S. News ranking category in the Best Colleges 2014 rankings.
Among endeavors to keep Miami's high quality education affordable is the school's use of Lean methodology. Piloted in 2008, Miami's Lean in-house continuous improvement process has included training of 1,313 employees across campuses. The goal is to increase efficiencies while maintaining an exemplary experience for students.
Through Lean processes, Miami saves about $15 million/year in additional revenues or cost reductions/avoidance, reduced operating time in about 50 percent of projects and found greener solutions in more than 40 percent of projects.
Staff and faculty have completed 188 projects, largely in the areas of physical facilities, housing and dining and other business services. The university is actively working on 92 other projects.