US: Cut student services? Think again

The painful art of trimming a college or university budget - often with the goal of protecting core academic programmes while picking and choosing which support services to cut - may just have got a bit more difficult, reports Ben Eisen for Inside Higher Ed. A forthcoming Cornell working paper found that in certain instances, graduation and persistence rates are linked to greater expenditures on student services.

The research findings of Cornell University graduate student Douglas Webber and Ronald Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, show a higher positive correlation between graduation rates and spending on student services - including things like student organisations, additional educational tools, and health and registrar services - than between graduation rates and instructional or research spending.

The report states that all else being equal, "an increase in student services expenditures of $500 per student, on average, would increase an institution's six-year graduation rate by 0.7 percentage points".
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site