How Colleges Save Money

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Apparently some Ohio state schools are so cash strapped that they’ve decided to outsource crucial functions.

Crucial functions like photocopying. According to an Associated Press article in Community College Week:

Cuyahoga Community College said Xerox Corp. will operate its campus copy centers and provide new copying and printing equipment, following a similar move by Cleveland State University.

Cleveland State estimates that the copy center switch will save the school $500,000 per year, said Jack Boyle, the school’s vice president for business affairs and finance. The school won’t have to budget for new printers or copy machine maintenance because Xerox will provide new equipment every five years.

It may be a little puzzling as to how contracting out to a gigantic, multi-billion dollar business management company can save a community college any money. Anyone who’s ever tried to print out his resume at Kinkos knows that business companies are generally no bargain.

The reason the outsourcing saves money actually doesn’t have much to do with the direct cost of the copy center. Eliminating the copy center saves money because it trim downs the number of people employed by the school, who are, as the Associated Press piece pointed out, entitled to “benefits like free tuition for family members,” and, you know, health care and retirement plans.

“The 11 copy-center employees at Cuyahoga Community College likely will move to other positions, said school spokesman Al Moran,” according to the article.

Yea, sure they will.

This reassurance seems questionable. If the college continues to employ everyone who currently works in the copy center, it wouldn’t really save any money by contracting the operation out to a private company, would it? [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer