ASU leads in education, research efficiency

August 16, 2010

Arizona State University has become one of the nation’s most efficient producers of college graduates and cutting-edge research. The university excels not only when measured against a peer group of other nationally ranked institutions, but also when measured against all other public research universities.

The university’s mission consists of two elements: educating students who complete their work and are awarded degrees, and conducting research that advances knowledge, creates jobs and drives economic growth in Arizona.
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According to the most recent available information, ASU produced 26 undergraduate and graduate degrees per 100 students enrolled on a full-time-equivalent basis. This level of degree production, which has gradually increased over the last five years, is close to the 26.5 average of the 15 institutions identified by the Arizona Board of Regents as ASU’s peers.

ASU’s success in producing graduates has been achieved in a highly cost-effective fashion. ASU’s total spending per degree produced in fiscal year 2008, the most recent measurement year, was $54,878 for a four-year degree. This amount is more than 14 percent lower than the average spending per degree at all public research universities and 30 percent lower than spending at ASU’s peer institutions.

If ASU had spent at the average level for all public research universities in 2008, it would have cost students and their families, and Arizona taxpayers about $130 million more to produce the same number of degrees. Had the university spent at the level of its peers, it would have required $340 million more for the same level of production.

“The fact that a skilled, innovative work force is critical to the recovery and future growth of the Arizona economy is common knowledge,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “What is not well known is the extraordinary efforts we have made at ASU to deliver an excellent education at an unparalleled cost.”

Since 2002, the university has systematically revamped its processes, delivery methods and organizational structure while, at the same time, enhancing instructional quality and student services. It also has streamlined its organization, eliminating management levels and cutting administrative positions. 

The university increased its efficiency by an additional 10 percent in fiscal year 2009, reducing the cost of each degree produced to $49,600 through strategic organizational changes designed to cut costs in response to the recession while preserving the quality of the educational experience.

The second major element of ASU’s mission is research. In addition to the benefits derived from the research work itself, sponsored research contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the state economy each year and creates thousands of Arizona jobs. Research is primarily funded by federal, local, and private parties interested in specific subject areas.

In this area also, ASU has significantly outperformed its peers, with annual sponsored research expenditures growing almost 71 percent from fiscal year 2004 to 2008, or more than double that of peer institutions during the same time period. ASU’s research expenditures have doubled since fiscal year 2003 to more than $310 million annually. The growth in federally sponsored research at ASU rose by 57 percent over that same time period, compared to just 13 percent at peer institutions.

ASU’s ABOR-approved peers are Florida State University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, Pennsylvania State University (Main Campus), the University of California- Los Angeles, the University of Connecticut, the University of Illinois (Urbana/Champaign), the University of Iowa, the University of Maryland (College Park), the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), the University of Texas (Austin), the University of Washington (Seattle), and the University of Wisconsin (Madison).

Sharon Keeler

associate director, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Phoenix-area foreclosures continue upward trend

August 16, 2010

The Phoenix-area housing market just saw its highest percentage of foreclosures in months. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows foreclosures made up 43 percent of the existing-home market activity in July. That’s the highest percentage in the Valley since January.

“After three months in the 30-percent range, the Phoenix area is back in the 40-percent range,” explains Associate Professor of Real Estate Jay Butler, who authored the new report. “This is the second month in a row with a percentage increase in foreclosures. Before that, we were seeing declines.” Download Full Image

The good news is that, even though the percentage was high in July, the actual number of foreclosures is not as dismal. The Phoenix-area market had almost 3,900 single-family home foreclosures in July. That’s about the same number as June, and actually a little less than last July’s 4,200 foreclosures.

Market activity overall is slowing down, which is normal for this time of year. Late summer is considered the end of the selling season. About 5,100 homes were resold in July, way down from almost 6,900 resales in June and 7,300 resales last July.

Butler says, “If you’re not selling an inexpensive entry-level home, it can be tough to sell in this market. People who normally might be looking for a ‘move-up home’ may be satisfied to stay in their current house, given the economy.”

The median price of homes resold in July was $137,500, down from $143,000 in June. However, prices are still up from last July, when the median price was $135,500.

The townhouse/condominium market had about 600 foreclosures in July, roughly the same number as in June. However, the median price dropped dramatically from $94,600 in June to $84,500 in July. This is a steep downward trend, since the median last July was $106,500.

Butler’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at">">htt.... More analysis is also available from Knowledge@W. P. Carey, the business school’s online resource and biweekly newsletter, at">">