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Do Expenditures Other Than Instructional Expenditures Affect Graduation and Persistence Rates in American Higher Education?

Author

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  • Webber, Douglas A.

    () (Temple University)

  • Ehrenberg, Ronald G.

    () (Cornell University)

Abstract

Median instructional spending per full-time equivalent (FTE) student at American colleges and universities has grown at a slower rate the median spending per FTE in a number of other expenditure categories during the last two decades. We use institutional level panel data and a variety of econometric approaches, including unconditional quantile regression models, to analyze whether noninstructional expenditure categories influence first year persistence and graduation rates of American undergraduate students. Our most important finding is that student service expenditures influence graduation and persistence rates and their marginal effects are larger for students at institutions with lower entrance test scores and more lower income students. Put another way, their effects are largest at institutions that have lower current persistence and graduation 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., 2009. "Do Expenditures Other Than Instructional Expenditures Affect Graduation and Persistence Rates in American Higher Education?," IZA Discussion Papers 4345, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4345
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dolan, Robert C. & Schmidt, Robert M., 1994. "Modeling institutional production of higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 197-213, September.
    2. Pfeifer, Christian & Cornelißen, Thomas, 2010. "The impact of participation in sports on educational attainment--New evidence from Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-103, February.
    3. Sergio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 953-973, May.
    4. Roland G. Fryer & Michael Greenstone, 2007. "The Causes and Consequences of Attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities," NBER Working Papers 13036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. de Groot, Hans & McMahon, Walter W & Volkwein, J Fredericks, 1991. "The Cost Structure of American Research Universities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 424-431, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2012. "American Higher Education in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 193-216, Winter.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:4:p:658-676 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    higher education; productivity; graduation rates;

    JEL classification:

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

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