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Impact on Cost Savings

University at Buffalo (SUNY)

Were costs reduced as planned?

There were three changes between the planned and the actual redesigned course. First, actual course enrollments differed from the estimates. The team predicted an increase in enrollment based on the assumption that the course would be added as a required component of the General Education program. This did not turn out to be the case. In fact, course enrollments dropped from 490 to just under 300 each term, after several departments that had required the course for their majors dropped the requirement. Second, the instructors teaching the redesigned course retained the third hour of lecture as a preparation for the labs rather than removing it from the course as planned. Attendance was low at this lab session, but the instructors were hesitant not to make use of it, since some students expressed interest in the additional meeting. Third, although the university had expected to remove all GTAs from this course, two were kept as part of the redesign to help supervise the large number of ULAs in the redesigned format. The net result of these changes was that the actual cost-per-student decreased by 42% in the redesign, from $248 to $143 rather than to the planned cost-per-student of $114.

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