News: Press Releases

February 26, 2014

University of Massachusetts saving $226 million through innovative efficiency program

  • The UMass System

BOSTON - Feb. 26, 2014: As a result of aggressive efforts in this area, the University of Massachusetts will realize $226 million in budget savings thanks to an Efficiency and Effectiveness program put in place in 2011, UMass Trustees were told today.

Energy and sustainability improvements at each of the five campuses, new system-wide procurement practices, streamlined IT services and improved borrowing strategies by the UMass Building Authority have produced most of the cost savings.

"Every dollar we save is a dollar that can be re-invested in scholarships and in our academic core. Every dollar saved is a dollar that doesn't have to come from students and their families.  This is important work," UMass President Robert L. Caret said as he briefed Trustees on the accomplishments of the ongoing initiative.

"This report shows that UMass is as committed to saving taxpayers money as we are keeping financial costs down for our students and their families, which is a win-win for all of Massachusetts."
"As we ask the state to do more for UMass and to provide full funding for our 50-50 proposal, we think it is particularly important that we demonstrate our visceral commitment to efficiency and also make our operations fully transparent," President Caret added.

The savings have been achieved even as the University has added more than 8,000 students since the fall of 2009, while keeping per-student costs at approximately the same level as 20 years ago. Some of the $226 million in efficiency savings have already been achieved and the remainder will be realized over the life of existing contracts in the areas targeted by the program.

The University of Massachusetts, the largest public research-university system in New England, is currently implementing 147 efficiency projects, an increase of 28 over the number of projects reported last year.

In sync with stewardship goal

"We are very proud of the many efficiency and effectiveness steps that this University has taken," said UMass Board Chairman Henry M. Thomas III. "They run the gamut, from IT to purchasing to telecommunication efficiencies, and the net result has been substantial savings that benefit our students and their families and the Commonwealth as a whole. This is a remarkable accomplishment and one that is very much in keeping with President Caret's goal that we be good stewards of state resources."

UMass dramatically increased its purchasing power through the creation of a University Procurement Council that has adopted strategies to leverage the University's collective purchasing power -- and through implementation of an electronic procurement system that has helped hold down costs  across the system.  In total, these efforts are producing $43.3 million in savings.

Additionally, UMass is realizing $67 million in savings through its Strategic Energy Initiative, a program of solar power projects and energy-efficient heating, chilling and lighting systems across the system.

On the IT front, the University is saving $33.3 million via new mobile device policies and contracts and through improved cloud-based shared data services, data security and operations.

Along with these three major initiatives, the University is saving money through efforts to increase general academic efficiency and effectiveness, strategies to reduce building costs, and campus-sponsored initiatives.

"This is a very significant accomplishment, and we are grateful to the Chancellors and their teams and to our staff at the system level for their efforts -- and to the Board for making E&E such a clear priority," said President Caret, who added: "This is a great accomplishment and whets our appetite for more. We are very committed to this effort."

Performance report set to be released

The report of Efficiency and Effectiveness efforts comes as the University is about to release the first edition of its annual short-form performance report, titled: UMass Performance: Accountable and On the Move.

The report seeks to provide the citizens of the Commonwealth with a clear and concise assessment of the University's performance in key areas. To measure the University's performance, 21 goals were set within six major priority categories. Data collection and measurement at the campus level provides the foundation for the performance ratings. Campus and central-office performance was then synthesized to create the ratings that will be presented in the report

"Our performance report represents an attempt to convey our story of priorities and progress in a way that is accessible to citizens across the Commonwealth.  Additionally, this report is intended to spur performance by establishing clear goals and priorities -- goals that we believe are important for our University and for the Commonwealth," President Caret said.

He added: "We believe that we have a clear duty to provide this information to the taxpayers who help to fund UMass, to parents who look to UMass for affordable, high-quality education for their sons and daughters , to our partners in government and business, to our graduates, students, faculty and staff  -  in short to anyone who has a stake and interest in the University of Massachusetts."

The inaugural edition of the performance report is expected to be released in early March.

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073; Ann Scales, 617-287-4084