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Do expenditures other than instructional expenditures affect graduation and persistence rates in American higher education?

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  • Webber, Douglas A.
  • Ehrenberg, Ronald G.

Abstract

During the last two decades, median instructional spending per full-time equivalent (FTE) student at American 4-year colleges and universities has grown at a slower rate than median spending per FTE student in a number of other expenditure categories, including academic support, student services and research. Our paper uses institutional level panel data and a variety of econometric approaches, including unconditional quantile regression methods, to analyze whether these non-instructional expenditure categories influence graduation and first-year persistence rates of undergraduate students. Our most important finding is that student service expenditures influence graduation and persistence rates and their marginal effects are higher for students at institutions with lower entrance test scores and higher Pell Grant expenditures per student. Put another way, their effects are largest at institutions that have lower current graduation and first-year persistence rates. Simulations suggest that reallocating some funding from instruction to student services may enhance persistence and graduation rates at those institutions whose rates are currently below the medians in the sample.

Suggested Citation

  • Webber, Douglas A. & Ehrenberg, Ronald G., 2010. "Do expenditures other than instructional expenditures affect graduation and persistence rates in American higher education?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 947-958, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:6:p:947-958
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    Cited by:

    1. Dan He & Manxin Zheng & Wei Cheng & Yui-yip Lau & Qingmei Yin, 2019. "Interaction between Higher Education Outputs and Industrial Structure Evolution: Evidence from Hubei Province, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(10), pages 1-19, May.
    2. Amanda L. Griffith & Kevin N. Rask, 2016. "The Effect Of Institutional Expenditures On Employment Outcomes And Earnings," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(4), pages 1931-1945, October.
    3. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2012. "Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 375-424, September.
    4. Ehrenberg, Ronald G., 2010. "Analyzing the factors that influence persistence rates in STEM field, majors: Introduction to the symposium," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 888-891, December.
    5. Daniel C. Hickman & Andrew G. Meyer, 2017. "Does Athletic Success Influence Persistence At Higher Education Institutions? New Evidence Using Panel Data," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 658-676, October.
    6. Robert Martin, 2013. "Do Colleges and Universities "Manage" Their Financial Reporting?," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(5), pages 85-99.
    7. Jan Kluge & Michael Weber, 2015. "Decomposing the German East-West wage gap," ifo Working Paper Series 205, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    8. Kurlaender, Michal & Jackson, Jacob & Howell, Jessica S. & Grodsky, Eric, 2014. "College course scarcity and time to degree," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 24-39.
    9. Eaton, C. & Kulkarni, K. & Birgeneau, Robert & Brady, Henry & Hout, Michael, 2017. "AFFORDING THE DREAM: Student Debt and State Need-Based Grant Aid for Public University Students," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt24j8945b, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
    10. Ann M. Gansemer-Topf & Jillian Downey & Katherine Thompson & Ulrike Genschel, 2018. "Did the Recession Impact Student Success? Relationships of Finances, Staffing and Institutional Type on Retention," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 59(2), pages 174-197, March.
    11. Philippe Cyrenne & Alan Chan, 2019. "The Determinants of Student Success in University: A Generalized Ordered Logit Approach," Departmental Working Papers 2019-03, The University of Winnipeg, Department of Economics.
    12. Smith, Jonathan & Pender, Matea & Howell, Jessica, 2013. "The full extent of student-college academic undermatch," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 247-261.
    13. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Joydeep Roy, 2017. "Effect of constraints on Tiebout competition: evidence from a school finance reform," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(5), pages 765-785, May.
    14. Bo Zhao, 2018. "Disinvesting in the future?: a comprehensive examination of the effects of state appropriations for public higher education," Working Papers 18-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revised 01 Jun 2018.
    15. Eaton, Charlie & Kulkarni, Sheisha & Birgeneau, Robert & Brady, Henry & Hout, Michael, 2017. "AFFORDING THE DREAM: Student Debt and State Need-Based Grant Aid for Public University Students," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt093215zt, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
    16. Jeongeun Kim, 2018. "The Functions and Dysfunctions of College Rankings: An Analysis of Institutional Expenditure," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 59(1), pages 54-87, February.
    17. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2012. "American Higher Education in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 193-216, Winter.
    18. Ozan Jaquette & Edna Parra, 2016. "The Problem with the Delta Cost Project Database," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(5), pages 630-651, August.
    19. Thomas Bolli & Tommaso Agasisti & Geraint Johnes, 2015. "The impact of institutional student support on graduation rates in US Ph.D. programmes," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 396-418, August.
    20. Gloria Crisp & Erin Doran & Nicole A. Salis Reyes, 2018. "Predicting Graduation Rates at 4-year Broad Access Institutions Using a Bayesian Modeling Approach," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 59(2), pages 133-155, March.
    21. Webber, Douglas A., 2012. "Expenditures and postsecondary graduation: An investigation using individual-level data from the state of Ohio," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 615-618.
    22. Javier García-Estévez & Néstor Duch-Brown, 2012. "Student graduation: to what extent does university expenditure matter?," Working Papers 2012/4, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    23. Aaron S. Horn & Giljae Lee, 2016. "The Reliability and Validity of Using Regression Residuals to Measure Institutional Effectiveness in Promoting Degree Completion," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(4), pages 469-496, June.
    24. Javier García-Estévez & Néstor Duch-Brown, 2012. "Student graduation: to what extent does university expenditure matter?," Working Papers 2012/4, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Educational finance Higher education Educational production function;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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