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How EAB Helped One University Save Millions Without Cutting Programs or Full-Time, Filled Faculty Lines

Large Public Doctoral University
  • Challenge

    Leadership from a large public university needed to find $3.2M in academic cost savings within the calendar year.

    The academic affairs team was asked to find the savings to help offset the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on enrollment, but the provost was committed to do so strategically: any cost savings had to be carefully considered and aligned with the mission of the institution – these would not be cuts across the board.

  • Solution

    EAB’s research helped academic affairs leadership identify and prioritize best-fit savings opportunities.

    EAB helped leaders evaluate the academic health of their programs and develop a decision framework – independent of the annual program review process – to evaluate performance through a continuous improvement lens. The university took steps like merging two schools, leaving an open dean position vacant, and reducing the provost’s administrative budget by 24% to reach their goal.

  • Impact

    The university exceeded their target by identifying $5M in academic savings.

    The university surpassed its $3.2M savings goal and realized an additional $1.8M to use for reinvestment. This was done without cutting existing programs or full-time filled faculty lines.

Key Results


In cost savings identified without cutting full-time filled faculty lines or programs


Reinvested into institutional growth and sustainability initiatives


Programs or full-time filled faculty lines cut as part of the cost savings

We used EAB’s expertise as one of our key resources in creating an academic continuous improvement mindset, reconceptualizing the Office of the Provost, and refining our academic committee structure — all while avoiding cuts to full-time filled faculty lines and programs.



Large Public Doctoral University

How EAB Helped Develop a Program Evaluation Process

  • Evaluate Financial Health of Academic Programs

    Academic affairs leadership used EAB’s academic efficiency tools to conduct instructional capacity analyses, looking at aspects like course size, instructional capacity, and academic administration span of control.

  • Establish Value Drivers and Metrics

    EAB helped develop a pilot program portfolio evaluation rubric to help consider key components of academic program performance.

Where Academic Affairs Leadership Found Savings

  • 24% reduction in Provost’s administrative budget

  • Merged two colleges into one

  • Left a vacant dean position open