IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Heterogeneous Non-resident Student Body: Measuring the Effect of Out-Of-State Students’ Home-State Wealth on Tuition and Fee Price Variations


  • Manuel S. González Canché

    () (University of Georgia)


Abstract More than 40 years of research has found a positive relationship between increases in the proportion of non-resident students enrolling in an institution and increases in the tuition prices this institution charges to these same students. Notably, this line of research has consistently treated this non-resident student body as if they constitute a homogeneous group in terms of their socioeconomic well-being, when in reality these students come from states with differing levels of socioeconomic prosperity. Notably, given that tuition and fee charges to non-resident students are market-based, institutions charge what out-of-state students are willing to pay. Under this rationale, it follows that the wealthier the student body of an institution is, the more institutions will be able to charge them in terms of tuition and fees for their education. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, it offers a method to measure the level of wealth of the non-resident student body enrolling at an institution considering the level of wealth of these students’ home states, therefore creating a measure of heterogeneity of the non-resident student body. The second purpose is to evaluate whether this measure of heterogeneity is associated with larger increases in the net tuition and fee prices charged to these students compared to the increases related to the homogeneous structure that ignores these students’ home-state wealth. This twofold purpose was addressed utilizing a dataset built from regional, state, and institutional information of 1743 public and private not-for-profit 4-year institutions across the contiguous United States. Since all the outcome variables were found to be spatially dependent, spatial econometrics techniques were employed for model estimation. Results corroborated that treating non-resident students as a homogeneous structure rendered downwardly biased estimates of institutions’ abilities and/or decisions to set higher or lower tuition and fee prices compared to the estimates obtained using the heterogeneous structure. Considering current general disinvestment of states in higher education, the analysis of factors driving non-resident tuition and fee price-setting has become especially relevant for public policy officials and decision-makers at both the institution- and state-levels. Accordingly, this study examines a critical issue in the finance of higher education—the setting of institutional tuition and fees for non-resident students.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel S. González Canché, 2017. "The Heterogeneous Non-resident Student Body: Measuring the Effect of Out-Of-State Students’ Home-State Wealth on Tuition and Fee Price Variations," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 58(2), pages 141-183, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:reihed:v:58:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11162-016-9422-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s11162-016-9422-2

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Adkisson & James Peach, 2008. "Non-resident enrollment and non-resident tuition at land grant colleges and universities," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 75-88.
    2. Joseph Calhoun & David Kamerschen, 2010. "The impact of governing structure on the pricing behavior and market structure of public institutions of higher education in the U.S," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 57(3), pages 317-333, September.
    3. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588.
    4. DANIEL P. McMILLEN & LARRY D. SINGELL & GLEN R. WADDELL, 2007. "Spatial Competition And The Price Of College," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 817-833, October.
    5. Berger, Mark C. & Kostal, Thomas, 2002. "Financial resources, regulation, and enrollment in US public higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 101-110, April.
    6. James Mak & James E.T. Moncur, 2003. "Interstate migration of college freshmen," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 37(4), pages 603-612, December.
    7. Marc Frenette, 2006. "Too Far to Go On? Distance to School and University Participation," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 31-58.
    8. Douglas Dotterweich & Edward Baryla, 2005. "Non-resident Tuition and Enrollment in Higher Education: Implications for Tuition Pricing," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 375-385.
    9. Joris Pinkse & Margaret E. Slade & Craig Brett, 2002. "Spatial Price Competition: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1111-1153, May.
    10. Greenwood, Michael J, 1975. "Research on Internal Migration in the United States: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 397-433, June.
    11. Yu Hsing & Franklin G. Mixon, Jr., 1996. "A Regional Study Of Net Migration Rates Of College Students," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 26(2), pages 197-209, Fall.
    12. Mixon, Franklin Jr & Hsing, Yu, 1994. "The determinants of out-of-state enrollments in higher education: A tobit analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 329-335.
    13. Mchugh, Richard & Morgan, James N., 1984. "The determinants of interstate student migration: a place-to-place analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 269-278, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:reihed:v:58:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11162-016-9422-2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.