Eduventures Study Benchmarks Summer Sessions at Colleges and Universities

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A new research report from Eduventures, Inc., Summer Sessions Benchmarks 2008, analyzes benchmark data on core summer session operations and administrative functions, program offerings, and institutional characteristics at U.S. colleges and universities.

A new research report from Eduventures, Inc., Summer Sessions Benchmarks 2008, analyzes benchmark data on core summer session operations and administrative functions, program offerings, and institutional characteristics at U.S. colleges and universities.

The study - a foundational, first-year, annual effort - is designed to enable administrators of college and university summer sessions to assess the performance of their programs, make evidence-based decisions with regard to resource allocations, and enhance strategy and program development.

According to Sean Gallagher, Program Director and Senior Analyst at Eduventures, summer session programs provide important benefits to colleges as well as the students they serve: they accelerate degree completion, extend the reach and visibility of institutions within their communities, offer opportunities for testing new products, and generate vital revenue.

The benchmarking report provides insight into broad areas associated with college and university summer session operations, including scale and growth patterns, student audiences served, scheduling and formats, financial and operational metrics, marketing budgets and strategies, student services, and best practices.

Key findings of the report include the following:

  • Summer session units' structure, size, and institutional reporting relationships vary greatly. The median size of summer sessions staff is three FTEs (full-time equivalents) and ranges from 1.5 to 20 FTEs. The vast majority of schools participating in the study also have a winter session that is managed by the same unit as summer session.
  • The majority of schools are focused on serving home students, who make up 78% of headcount, on average. Visiting students and continuing education/adult students are two other key audiences.
  • Ten academic disciplines account for nearly two-thirds (63%) of for-credit program offerings; the largest components of members' portfolios include offerings in disciplines such as education, social sciences, physical sciences, and business. Non-credit offerings tend to be concentrated in fewer disciplines.
  • The vast majority of schools' courses are offered in a traditional, face-to-face format, with online and hybrid courses making up a relatively small share of course offerings. A number of schools indicate that online education has been a major growth vehicle.
  • Summer session units are generating healthy levels of income (averages for 2007 income, as well as expense levels are included in the report) and income appears to be growing in many cases.

"This research project is unique in that it provides benchmark data across many operational and strategic dimensions," said Gallagher. "It will help colleges position their summer session programs relative to peer institutions, evaluate their product portfolios and audiences of focus, compare institutional summer sessions income and expenses, and identify those marketing and communications strategies that will be most effective in increasing awareness and growth."

Summer Sessions Benchmarks 2008 is available to members of the Eduventures Summer Sessions Learning Collaborative, a research consortium that assists members in identifying best management practices, benchmarking performance, and improving the functioning of core processes.

About Eduventures, Inc.
Eduventures is the industry leader in shared-cost, data-driven research and consulting for higher education. Eduventures is dedicated to helping colleges and universities become more efficient and successful institutions. More than 300 higher education institutions participate in one or more of Eduventures' eight Learning Collaboratives: Academic Leadership, Continuing and Professional Education, Development, Enrollment Management, Online Higher Education, Schools of Education, Student Affairs, and Summer Sessions. Membership benefits include Collaborative Research Reports on current trends and issues, Custom Analysis, and Implementation Support, including opportunities to network with fellow professionals. Additionally, Eduventures provides consulting and management services to colleges and universities, drawing upon market research, data analysis, and best practices developed through the company's Learning Collaboratives. More about Eduventures can be found at http://www.eduventures.com.

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