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ERIC Number: ED541913
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Public Policies, Prices, and Productivity in American Higher Education. Stretching the Higher Education Dollar. Special Report 3
Hauptman, Arthur M.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Rapid increases in what colleges charge and what they spend per student have been and remain one of the most controversial aspects of American higher education. Tuition, fees, and other college charges have increased in both the public and private sectors at more than twice the rate of inflation for over a quarter century. Trends over time in what colleges and universities spend per student are harder to discern because recent changes in accounting conventions have made it difficult to compare spending patterns. This report seeks to examine the extent to which public policies at both the federal and state levels have shaped these trends in price and cost productivity (measured as spending per student). To accomplish this, the report is divided into the following four sections: (1) A theoretical consideration of how public and private providers meet the demand for higher education; (2) An examination of trends over the past 40 years in what colleges charge, how much they spend per student, and tuition as a percentage of educational costs; (3) A discussion of the various theories that have been put forth for why prices and spending per student have increased so rapidly in the past three decades; and (4) An analysis of the effects public policies may have had on pricing and productivity (measured as spending per student) and a series of suggestions for a series of federal and state policy reforms that could slow the future growth of what colleges charge and spend per student. This paper is one of three in a series on higher education costs. (Contains 11 figures, 3 tables, and 28 notes.) [For "Addressing the Declining Productivity of Higher Education Using Cost-Effectiveness Analysis. Stretching the Higher Education Dollar. Special Report 2" see ED541919.]
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 - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research