Is Low-Cost Kuali Too Pricey for Higher Ed?

| June 16, 2010

Kuali Logo

We have been following the progress of  Kuali, an open-source administrative software project,  for almost two years (here and here).  In response to the staggering costs of course management systems, the Kuali project was created to design “a collaborative model for delivering open source enterprise-scale software for higher education”. Ironically, it seems the costs of the Kuali project may be too high. The Andrew W. Mellon foundation, which has provided $6.5 million to the Kuali project, closed its grant program in January. Florida State University pulled out in March, citing massive budget cuts as the reason. This week, MIT announced it will no longer provide $150,000 to $500,000 a year to support the project. MIT stated it was ending the partnership because it “must make difficult choices about allocation of its resources”.  Part of the problem could be the long development cycle of Kuali; it has been in production since 2006. Although Kuali is attempting to help schools save money, it seems they are increasing costs for partners schools because the institutions need to maintain the commercial software to keep the campuses running smoothly while Kuali is being built.