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More About Brown (As Promised)
Brown’s expenses run to $89,381/student each year; we pay out $140,382/student. We spend $51,001/year/student more than Brown. However, part of that difference lies in our extra research spending — just under $12,000/year per student). After deducting research, we still spend approximately $39,000/student/year more than Brown.
A professor writes in:
Just came across your article and wanted to point out something. The $182,118,000 number quoted under Sponsored research is actually a revenue and not expense (i.e., this number is not part of the $891,428,000 total expense you quoted)! This is the total amount of money faculty bring in through grants. So we are actually pulling in 30 million more than Brown. And this is actually lowering the expense per student/year.
My correspondent is correct that the amount of research funding is listed as revenue in Dartmouth’s P&L, but I used this figure as a shorthand for research expenses. This is back of the envelope accounting, but it is not inaccurate, absent better figures. That said, while it is conventional wisdom that externally funded research generates a kind of operating profit for an institution, outside analysis indicates that sponsored research really does not cover its own direct and indirect costs. This point has been supported to me by people at the College.
Another correspondent raises some questions:
Playing devil’s advocate here: Dartmouth has fewer students than Brown and spends more per student than Brown. Some of that difference is expected due to economies of scale. How much of the difference in spending per student IS due to that factor? How do you quantify that? Some of the costs are fixed and would be the same between both schools no matter how many students they have enrolled. One example of this would be intercollegiate athletics because they are both in the same league and have to field the same number of teams and the same number of players per team.
Some of the cost difference between the College and Brown is due to economies of scale, but it is self-evident that if we increased the number of students in Hanover from our current 6,350 to Brown’s 9,073, the cost of running Dartmouth would not drop by $80,471,000 — so that Dartmouth would then have the same operating expenses as Brown. It is true that each school has one President, Provost, Athletics Director and hockey coach, etc., but my estimate is that in the grand scheme of things, the savings of scale would be minor, and would be less important than some of the real world differences between Dartmouth and Brown: for example, Brown has 80 armed police officers on its payroll; we have 40 security guards, and so forth.
More to the point, let’s look at the number of classes offered to undergrads at Dartmouth and at Brown, statistics that are available in the Department of Education’s university Common Data Set. Classes are defined as follows:
While Brown has 40 courses with 100+ students (does the College really only have four?), it offers a total of 1,149 courses, a hair under double Dartmouth’s 575. And Brown proposes 806 (397+409) different courses with under 20 students — the College has 367 (122+245) small courses.
It does not appear that Brown is scrimping on instruction.
Addendum: I argue frequently that the College needs to reduce its non-faculty staff headcount significantly — at least by the 447 staffers added since 2010, if not by the 1,100+ people added since 1999. But where would these people find work? Look to this recent tidbit in the Valley News:
“What I hear a lot of is ‘I can’t find housing,’ ” said Amy Smith, the director of care management at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Across DHMC’s entire system, there’s about 1,000 job openings, she said, and a 30 percent vacancy rate in the environmental services department alone.
Note that this is the DHMC “system” — not just the campus in Lebanon, but still. There are hundreds of empty jobs in the Upper Valley right now: the Co-ops advertises for people on the radio, and various employment agencies are offering signing bonuses if you find a job with them. A real leader would seize this opportunity.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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