50-50 Highlights: Colleges with the Highest Average Instructional Expenses per Student

Plant growing out of moneyThis week we’re looking at the average amount of instructional expenses per student. In some ways, you can consider it a monetary form of the student-faculty ratio. Theoretically, the more money spent on instruction, the better for the student.

However, like the student-faculty ratio, there are some significant limitations to these numbers. The amount is the average for full-time equivalent students at both the graduate and undergraduate level. So schools with a higher percentage of graduate students are likely to have higher averages because of the higher costs associated with educating graduate students.

There’s another problem in what expenses are actually considered under the instructional category. Institutions that use the GASB accounting method such as state institutions, do not include operation and maintenance of plant or interest in instructional expenses while those that use the FASB do.

Furthermore, the category can include “expenses for departmental research and public service that are not separately budgeted.” Schools with larger research expenses are more likely to budget them separately than those institutions that focus on teaching.

So instructional expenses per student, like most numbers we look at in education, is a messy number. Messy as it is, we’ll take a look at it anyway. The average instructional expenses for schools with 500 or more full-time undergraduates is $10,182. For public institutions it’s $9,332 and private it’s $10,779.

There isn’t much difference between private 50-50 schools non-50-50 schools. Public 50-50 universities spend an average of $200 more per student than non-50-50 schools. Private 50-50 colleges average over $800 more per student than non-50-50 private schools.

The following tables shows the top 10% of schools in instructional spending per students for 50-50 schools. The first table lists the private schools, the second the public universities. As usual, the four-year graduation rate is used for private schools and the five-year rate is used for public schools.

Private 50-50 Colleges with Highest Average Instructional Expenses per Student
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4/5 yr
tion per
Yeshiva UniversityPrivateNY2782603302128
Worcester Polytechnic InstitutePrivateMA3959702249452
Sweet Briar CollegePrivateVA680542222552
Rose-Hulman Institute of TechnologyPrivateIN2186662087960
Reed CollegePrivateOR1356702026144
Sarah Lawrence CollegePrivateNY1441622014252
Earlham CollegePrivateIN1045591952751
Furman UniversityPrivateSC2677801880449
DePauw UniversityPrivateIN2280741833051
Whitman CollegePrivateWA1505801826245
University of Puget SoundPrivateWA2522681774953
Ringling College of Art and DesignPrivateFL1212561729545
Saint Louis UniversityPrivateMO7210611664154
Bennington CollegePrivateVT609581660346
St Olaf CollegePrivateMN3081831605453
Hofstra UniversityPrivateNY6378501598954
Wheaton CollegePrivateMA1645711596244
Southern Methodist UniversityPrivateTX6119671588441
Centre CollegePrivateKY1378801587343
Catholic University of AmericaPrivateDC3456621579950
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityPrivateIL2001721553754
Roger Williams UniversityPrivateRI3875501550462
Lawrence UniversityPrivateWI1518691542946
Villanova UniversityPrivatePA6547861542651
Mills CollegePrivateCA922531532140
Seattle UniversityPrivateWA4377591513950
University of San FranciscoPrivateCA6111571504154

Public 50-50 Colleges with Highest Average Instructional Expenses per Student

4/5 yr
tion per
University of Illinois at ChicagoPublicIL15402512577346
University of Washington-Seattle CampusPublicWA27050782364540
University of ConnecticutPublicCT17219812090843
The University of Tennessee-KnoxvillePublicTN19799622079242
Pennsylvania State University-Main CampusPublicPA38826831807339
University of DelawarePublicDE16852791718648
University of KansasPublicKS17193561687442
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusPublicPA17483791650629
Ohio State University-Main CampusPublicOH40020811616143
University of VermontPublicVT9764751606635
Rutgers University-NewarkPublicNJ5827601594749
SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestryPublicNY1647691589138
Purdue University-Main CampusPublicIN28659641547744
University at BuffaloPublicNY18091681515147
Rutgers University-New BrunswickPublicNJ31759761478249


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