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ERIC Number: ED521779
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul-8
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Linking Costs and Postsecondary Degrees: Key Issues for Policymakers. Working Paper 2011-03
Johnson, Nate
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
In this paper the author offers practical advice for decision-makers who are struggling to rein in college costs while improving productivity. He provides a step-by-step guide to different approaches for calculating costs, highlights the tremendous variability in cost across programs within institutions, and documents some of the "hidden costs" of higher education. Rather than cut budgets across the board, as many cash-strapped schools have done, the author argues that budget decisions should be grounded in clear and reliable data that prioritize performance and productivity. For policymakers interested in spending higher education dollars more strategically, the author offers five simple "rules of the road" that should inform efforts to link finance more tightly to institutional performance: (1) Not all certificates and degrees cost the same or produce the same benefits; (2) Private universities show where growth is (and isn't) possible without massive subsidies; (3) Seek economies of scale where appropriate; (4) Do not confuse enrollments with degrees; and (5) Past performance may not indicate future results. (Contains 5 tables, 1 figure and 30 endnotes.)
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research