Duplication of Programs: Where Do We Draw the Line?
The costly duplication of courses, programs, and services are common to every state system of higher education. Instances of large state universities located minutes apart are not uncommon where nearly every aspect of the campuses is duplicated. Eliminating unnecessary duplication is difficult and rarely, if ever, surfaces as a priority for cutting costs; on the contrary, the incentives for expanding duplication are strong when it means capturing a marginal increase in student credit hours or a new revenue stream. This chapter identifies those who pay for this unnecessary duplication and makes the argument that every university must set priorities in the interest of controlling costs. It warns against the growing pressures to give community colleges the authority to award four-year degrees arguing that is just more duplication that adds to the total cost that must be covered by students and taxpayers. The chapter ends by pointing to the need for greater inter-institutional collaboration to reduce duplication and costs.