Big spenders, poor performance

Despite being big spenders, UNR and UNLV perform poorly when it comes to graduating their students.

The University of Nevada, Reno has the 25th highest instructional spending per full-time student in the U.S., according to the database of the Education Trust. Nevertheless, when UNR is compared on rates of graduation within six years, the school ranks just 211th.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas faces a similar discrepancy. Ranked 190th out of 506 schools in instruction spending per full-time student, UNLV ranks 327th for six-year graduation rates.

UNLV's instructional spending per full time student is $526 above the national median, but graduation rates are 5.8 percentage points below. In fact, 316 public colleges and universities in the Education Trust database spend less on instruction than UNLV, yet UNLV can only beat 176 of them on six-year graduation rates.

While UNR's graduation rate is 2.8 percentage points above the median, the school spends considerably more than most universities on instruction, at $5,747 per student above the median. That difference, totaled, exceeds the entire instructional spending levels of 262 public colleges and universities! To put it another way, UNR spends twice as much per student on instruction as do 77.4 percent of such schools (about 392).

This raises the question: What on earth are they doing with that money?

Underfunded? Hardly. Underperforming? Most certainly. Don't believe this report? Check The Education Trust database yourself at

Click here to see NPRI's higher education graduation rankings.

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