Do States and Colleges Affect Student Fees?

I am presenting a paper, “A Longitudinal Analysis of Student Fees: The Roles of States and Institutions,” at the Association for Education Finance and Policy’s annual conference today.  Here is the abstract:

Student fees are used to finance a growing number of services and programs at colleges and universities, including core academic functions, and make up 20% of the total cost of tuition and fees at the typical four-year public college. Yet little research has been conducted to examine state-level and institutional-level factors that may affect student fee charges. In this paper, I use state-level data on tuition and fee policy, the role of state governments and higher education systems, and partisan political balance combined with institutional-level data on athletics programs and selectivity to create a panel from the 1999-2000 to 2011-12 academic years. I find that some state-level factors that would be expected to reduce student fees, such as fee caps, do reduce fees at four-year public colleges, but giving the legislature authority to set fees results in higher fees. Additional state grant aid and higher-level athletics programs are also associated with higher fees in my primary model.

And here are the slides from my presentation, summarizing the study (which is still a work in progress). Any comments are greatly appreciated!

Author: Robert

I am an a professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville who studies higher education finance, accountability policies and practices, and student financial aid. All opinions expressed here are my own.

2 thoughts on “Do States and Colleges Affect Student Fees?”

  1. Interesting work, but I think you need some more discrimination in terms of whether specific activities are prohibited from general fund appropriations support. For example, in Virginia athletics must be paid through fees, not GF support. Change in athletic conference membership might also add value. I suspect there are other factors that come into play as well – such as legislative involvement in how auxiliary enterprises are contracted.

    When you start looking at regional competition, you might want to consider simple proximity to other institutions, public and private.

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