Syllabi costs mount on college campuses

No colleges surveyed used commercial syllabus systems.

The unnoticed costs of syllabi management might make campus budget hawks break a sweat.

Colleges and universities spend an average of $272,674 every year on creating, printing, and distributing syllabi, a new report suggests, and while higher education shifts to online platforms for many aspects of administration and learning, syllabus management still involves plenty of paper.

The report, published last week by The Syllabus Institute, a website run by syllabus technology maker Intellimedia, analyzes the myriad financial and employee costs of making and updating syllabi and handing them out to thousands of students.

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Four-year universities included in Intellimedia’s research spent more than $102,000 every year managing syllabi for about 1,800 faculty members.

The largest campuses spend upwards of $1.5 million annually on creating, printing, and evaluating syllabi, according to the study.

“The process of managing syllabi is shared by many and affects every department’s workflow and budget,” said Jennifer Connally, principal researcher for The Syllabus Institute’s report, “Where Does the Budget Go?”

The average syllabus is seven pages, and more than half of professors interviewed by The Syllabus Institute said they printed an average of 673 pages of syllabi every semester.

Even midsized schools with 300 faculty members spend $8,100 on printing syllabi per semester, according to the research.

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