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How to Think About Changes in Higher Education Affordability

Author

Listed:
  • Robert B. Archibald

    () (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • David H. Feldman

    () (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

Abstract

Many have argued that because the cost of attending college has increased more rapidly than family income, college has become less affordable. In this paper, we argue that this is not the correct way to think about affordability. Goods and services are more or less affordable if the consumer can or cannot afford to purchase the market basket of goods and services in the second time period he or she could afford in the first period. The measure of whether an increase in tuition and fees has increased or decreased affordability should focus on a comparison of the amount of goods and services families have left over after they have paid tuition and fees before and after the tuition increase. This paper explains why this type of measure should be preferred and investigates the recent history of affordability using this measure.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert B. Archibald & David H. Feldman, 2008. "How to Think About Changes in Higher Education Affordability," Working Papers 76, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:76
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    File URL: http://economics.wm.edu/wp/cwm_wp76.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kokkelenberg, Edward C. & Sinha, Esha, 2010. "Who succeeds in STEM studies? An analysis of Binghamton University undergraduate students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 935-946, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Affordability; Higher Education Cost; Cost Disease;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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