Activity Based Costing (ABC) to Calculate the Cost of Training Students in School of Management and Medical Information Sciences

Document Type : Original Article


1 MSc Student in Health Economics, School of Management and Information Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 PhD Candidate in Health Economics, School of Public Health, Department of Management and Health Economics, Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran

3 PhD Students in Accounting, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

4 Health Human Resources Research Center, School of Management and Information Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

5 Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Emergency Medicine Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

6 Emergency Medicine Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Introduction: Public higher education is competing for limited public funds. Activity-based
costing (ABC) provides detailed evidence that higher education administrators and policymakers
can be employed to allocate scare resources more effectively and better understand
what education centers do. Conducting context-specific studies on ABC and budgeting for
educational systems is the crux of the matter for cost containment and making decisions. The
present study was undertaken with the aim of determining the costs of training undergraduate
and postgraduate students.
Methods: This is a descriptive-analytic and applied study. The costs incurred by 7 different
disciplines and degrees including bachelor (n=2), master (n=4), and PhD (n=1) in the School
of Management and Medical Information Sciences of the Shiraz University of Medical
Science in the academic year 2015-16 were examined and costs of training undergraduate and
postgraduate students were totaled by ABC method. The total number of students in included
disciplines was 269; of them, 71% were studying in the bachelor, 26% in the master, and 3%
in PhD programs. Since the primary purpose of our study was to calculate the total sum of
cost per student, no sampling was done. After identifying the activity centers and incurred
costs per activity center, the proportion of the schools’ costs to the university headquarter was
traced. In the school level, the costs of non-faculty staff by the deputies of education, research,
support, and cultural-student affairs were estimated. Moreover, other costs, namely energy
costs, rentals, consumables, depreciation, and missions were determined and assigned based
on the number of students. Data management and analysis were performed using Excel 2007.
Results: The cost of training undergraduate students in the disciplines of health services
management and health information technology was $24413±2891 and $24286±2926,
respectively. The maximum cost of schooling a student in the master degree belonged to the
discipline of medical informatics. The total cost of training a PhD student in the academic
year 2014-2015 was $95303±16106.
Conclusion: In an era of resource scarcity, the ability to recognize the gaps between resources
and academic goals and redirect the resources into programs which maximize the value
added is crucial for all higher education institutes.


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