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Labor Cost Benchmarking

Leveraging Benchmarking Data

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Oregon State University

Oregon State University (OSU), established in 1868, is an international public research university with two campuses, 11 colleges, and more than 32,000 students. With eleven colleges to manage, OSU wanted to optimize its resources to ensure that students receive the support they need to thrive. 

OSU partnered with HelioCampus to leverage crucial benchmarking data, which allows them to track how their academic and administrative decisions compare to other institutions across North America— and even to their own individual colleges.

"With HelioCampus’s Standard Activity Model (SAM) for student services, we were able to break down the nebulous idea of student success into distinct parts. Now, we can use that data to glean nuggets of information that we can share across colleges to guide their investments and boost student success."
Nicole Dolan
Director of Budget Development

How OSU Uses the Data


To Outsource or Not

Historically, OSU has outsourced most of its custodial services, but in 2019 they decided to re-evaluate the contract after ongoing dissatisfaction with the level of service provided. By accessing HelioCampus’ benchmarking data, OSU knew they would be able to see how their custodial spending compared to peer institutions, helping them make a more informed decision.


Learning from Other Institutions

HelioCampus’ higher education services extend way beyond benchmarking databases. Via their partnership, OSU also has the ability to consult with other colleges and universities—a critical capability when OSU was deciding whether to create a project management office.


Measuring Student Success

OSU relies on HelioCampus' benchmarking data to learn more about its own internal processes and staffing levels across different OSU units. For example, they recently used HelioCampus data to conduct an internal analysis that compares what OSU’s 11 colleges spend on student services and how those investments impact the university’s six-year graduation rate.

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Benchmarking for Longevity

HelioCampus’s benchmarking data has been an informative part of the institutional decision-making process for five years. “Benchmarking data is so versatile,” Dolan says. “It allows us to analyze areas in a way we have not been able to before—and that’s been critical for us as we make decisions to support our mission.”  

Learn More About the Results

OSU utilizes benchmarking data in a variety of innovative ways, all of which help the institution make more informed decisions and ensure financial viability. Read the case study to explore three different use cases for OSU’s benchmarking data.

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Oregon State case study cover