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ERIC Number: ED536150
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Who Subsidizes Whom? An Analysis of Educational Costs and Revenues
Gillen, Andrew; Denhart, Matthew; Robe, Jonathan
Center for College Affordability and Productivity (NJ1)
Conventional wisdom holds that colleges and universities heavily subsidize their students. This assertion seems correct, given that total spending per student is almost always in excess of per student tuition payments. However, as the authors show in this report, the conventional wisdom is wrong because it inappropriately compares only one revenue source--tuition payments--to total institutional spending. Such a comparison is seriously misleading because institutional spending encompasses far more than just the educational expenditures that tuition revenues are ostensibly designed to cover. The more logical comparison--and the one which the authors make here--is between what colleges and universities are paid to provide an education versus what those institutions actually spend to provide that education. In many cases student tuition and third-party payments on behalf of students easily cover the portion of spending that is actually used for educational activities. Between 52% and 76% of all students attend institutions where educational payments exceed educational spending. For four-year students, this figure is between 59% and 87%, and for two-year students, it is between 24% and 63%. Appended are: (1) Data Sources and Descriptions; and (2) Methodological Description. (Contains 1 figure, 5 tables, and 13 footnotes.)
Center for College Affordability and Productivity. 1055 Thomas Jefferson Street NW Suite L 26, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 202-621-0536; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP)