Faculty-led Program Data: Where are Cost Increases Coming From?

The Asia Institute, a program provider for faculty-led courses in Asia, recently published an interesting report on a variety of aspects of short-term, faculty-led programs in Asia during 2015.

The report describes itself as “an in-depth look at 614 short-term faculty-led programs developed in Asia in 2015, [offering] valuable insights into how U.S. universities are developing short-term experiences in Asia, and provid[ing] benchmarking data, which Study Abroad and Global Programs Offices can use to assess their own program offerings.”

They report interesting findings in many areas, but particularly in the area of program costs. Surprisingly, the findings on cost increases since 2014 point to tuition rather than on-the-ground costs as the basis for increases. Very interesting. I don’t believe that for many of us tuition increases would be the first element to come to mind when analyzing short-term program costs.  We typically focus solely on travel and logistics costs. I realize that colleges and universities have different ways of calculating faculty-led programs costs, but from the report’s findings below, it’s clear we need to expand our thinking when trying to understand costs.

On-the-ground costs for short-term faculty-led programs in Asia are decreasing, while increased tuition fees are making short-term programs in Asia more expensive. In 2015, the average program fee per day (without international airfare and tuition included) was $139, while the average in 2014 was $162, a reduction of 14 percent. At the same time, the average program fee per day (without international airfare included, but with tuition) was $193 in 2015, while the average in 2014 was $165, a 16 percent year-over-year increase.

Solid data from a broad spectrum of faculty-led programs is not always easy to come by, so I appreciate the Asia Institute’s contribution. Visit the Asia Institute website for a full copy of the August 2015 report.

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