Outsourcing may undermine Haslam's 'Drive to 55' college graduation plan

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE -- An internal report on the potential outsourcing of building management at public colleges and universities warns Gov. Bill Haslam that the changes could undermine his signature "Drive to 55" initiative to improve graduation rates in Tennessee.

The report titled "Strategies for Efficiency in Real Estate Management" was first obtained by WTVF-TV in Nashville. Among a series of recommendations aimed at cutting $184 million in costs per year, the report proposes reducing office space in higher education through greater use of telecommuting and temporary offices.

But the report acknowledges that the new approach would require a culture change within higher education, and adds that the reduced space "may be inconsistent" with Haslam's effort to boost graduation rates and the Complete College Tennessee Act because "data indicates student success is correlated with level of student engagement with faculty and staff members."