Tuesday, January 16, 2024

My 2024 Higher Education Finance Reading List (Robert Kelchen)

[Editor's note: This article first appeared at the Kelchen on Education blog.]

As a department head, I typically only teach one class per year. This spring, I get to teach my PhD class in higher education finance again—the eighth time that I have taught it in my eleven-year faculty career. Each time, I have updated the readings considerably as the field is moving quickly and I figure out what works best for the students. I use articles, working papers, news coverage, and other online resources to provide a current look at the state of higher education finance.

The format that I have taught the class using has also changed frequently over time due to what works best for the program and other events of the past several years. Here are reading lists from previous years and how I have taught the class:

Summer 2023: Accelerated five-week format, mix of asynchronous and online synchronous

Spring 2022: Online synchronous, meeting one evening per week

Spring 2020: Met one Saturday per month, started out in person but moved to Zoom halfway through due to the pandemic

Fall 2017: In person, meeting one evening per week

This spring, I am back to teaching the class in person one evening per week for the first time in nearly seven years. Here is the reading list I am assigning my students for the course. I link to the final versions of the articles whenever possible, but those without access to an academic library should note that earlier versions of many of these articles are available online via a quick Google search.

The higher education finance landscape and data sources

Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., Saez, E., Turner, N., & Yagan, D. (2017). Mobility report cards: The role of colleges in intergenerational mobility. Working paper. (link)

Schanzenbach, D. W., Bauer, L., & Breitwieser, A. (2017). Eight economic facts on higher education. The Hamilton Project. (link)

Webber, D. A. (2021). A growing divide: The promise and pitfalls of higher education for the working class. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 695, 94-106. (link)

Recommended data sources:

College Scorecard: https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/ (underlying data at https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/)

Equality of Opportunity Project: http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/college

IPEDS: https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data

NCES Data Lab: https://nces.ed.gov/datalab/index.aspx

Postsecondary Value Commission’s Equitable Value Explorer: https://www.postsecondaryvalue.org/equitable-value-explorer/

ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer: https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/

Urban Institute’s Data Explorer: https://educationdata.urban.org/data-explorer/colleges/

Institutional budgeting

Barr, M.J., & McClellan, G.S. (2010). Understanding budgets. In Budgets and financial management in higher education (pp. 55-85). Jossey-Bass. (link)

Jaquette, O., Kramer II, D. A., & Curs, B. R. (2018). Growing the pie? The effect of responsibility center management on tuition revenue. The Journal of Higher Education, 89(5), 637-676. (link)

Rutherford, A., & Rabovsky, T. (2018). Does the motivation for market-based reform matter? The case of responsibility-centered management. Public Administration Review, 78(4), 626-639. (link)

University of Tennessee System’s FY2024 budget: https://finance.tennessee.edu/budget/documents/

University of Tennessee System’s FY2022 annual financial report: https://treasurer.tennessee.edu/reports/

UTK’s Budget Allocation Model (responsibility center management) website: https://budget.utk.edu/budget-allocation-model/

Higher education expenditures

Archibald, R. B., & Feldman, D. H. (2018). Drivers of the rising price of a college education. Midwestern Higher Education Compact. (link)

Commonfund Institute (2023). 2023 higher education price index. (link)

Griffith, A. L., & Rask, K. N. (2016). The effect of institutional expenditures on employment outcomes and earnings. Economic Inquiry, 54(4), 1931-1945. (link)

Hemelt, S. W., Stange, K. M., Furquim, F., Simon, A., & Sawyer, J. E. (2021). Why is math cheaper than English? Understanding cost differences in higher education. Journal of Labor Economics, 39(2), 397-435. (link)

Korn, M., Fuller, A., & Forsyth, J. S. (2023, August 10). Colleges spend like there’s no tomorrow. ‘These places are just devouring money.’ The Wall Street Journal. (link)

The financial viability of higher education

Britton, T., Rall, R. M., & Commodore, F. (2023). The keys to endurance: An investigation of the institutional factors relating to the persistence of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Journal of Higher Education, 94(3), 310-332. (link)

Ducoff, N. (2019, December 9). Students pay the price if a college fails. So why are we protecting failing institutions? The Hechinger Report. (link)

Jesse, D., & Bauman, D. (2023, November 13). This small college was out of options. Will its creditors give it a break? The Chronicle of Higher Education. (link)

Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (2019). Final report & recommendations. Transitions in higher education: Safeguarding the interest of students (THESIS). (link)

Sullivan, G. W., & Stergios, J. (2019). A risky proposal for private colleges: Ten reasons why the Board of Higher Education must rethink its plan. Pioneer Institute. (link)

Tarrant, M., Bray, N., & Katsinas, S. (2018). The invisible colleges revisited: An empirical review. The Journal of Higher Education, 89(3), 341-367. (link)

State and sources of revenue

Chakrabarti, R., Gorton, N., & Lovenheim, M. F. (2020). State investment in higher education: Effects on human capital formation, student debt, and long-term financial outcomes of students. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 27885. (link)

Gándara, D. (2023). “One of the weakest budget players in the state”: State funding of higher education at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. (link)

Kelchen, R., Ortagus, J. C., Rosinger, K. O., Baker, D., & Lingo, M. (2023). The relationships between state higher education funding strategies and college access and success. Educational Researcher. (link)

Kunkle, K., & Laderman, S. (2023). State higher education finance: FY 2022. State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. (link)

Ortagus, J. C., Kelchen, R., Rosinger, K. O., & Voorhees, N. (2020). Performance-based funding in American higher education: A systematic synthesis of the intended and unintended consequences. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 42(4), 520-550. (link)

Tennessee’s outcomes-based funding formula: https://www.tn.gov/thec/bureaus/ppr/fiscal-policy/outcomes-based-funding-formula-resources/2020-25-obf.html

Federal sources of revenue

Bergman, P., Denning, J. T., & Manoli, D. (2019). Is information enough? The effect of information about education tax benefits on student outcomes. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 38(3), 706-731. (link)

Black, S. E., Turner, L. J., & Denning, J. T. (2023). PLUS or minus? The effect of graduate school loans on access, attainment, and prices. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 31291. (link)

Graddy-Reed, A., Feldman, M., Bercovitz, J., & Langford, W. S. (2021). The distribution of indirect cost recovery in academic research. Science and Public Policy, 48(3), 364-386. (link)

Kelchen, R., & Liu, Z. (2022). Did gainful employment regulations result in college and program closures? Education Finance and Policy, 17(3), 454-478. (link)

Ward, J. D. (2019). Intended and unintended consequences of for-profit college regulation: Examining the 90/10 rule. Journal of Student Financial Aid, 48(3), Article 4. (link)

College pricing, tuition revenue, and endowments

Baker, D. J. (2020). “Name and shame”: An effective strategy for college tuition accountability? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 42(3), 1-24. (link)

Baum, S., & Lee, V. (2018). Understanding endowments. Urban Institute. (link)

Delaney, T., & Marcotte, D. E. (2023). The cost of public higher education and college enrollment. The Journal of Higher Education. (link)

Kelchen, R., & Pingel, S. (2023). Examining the effects of tuition controls on student enrollment. Research in Higher Education. (link)

Knox, L. (2023, December 4). Seeking an enrollment Hail Mary, small colleges look to athletics. Inside Higher Ed. (link)

Ma, J., & Pender, M. (2023). Trends in college pricing and student aid 2023. (link)

Webber, D. A. (2017). State divestment and tuition at public institutions. Economics of Education Review, 60, 1-4. (link)

Financial aid policies, practices, and impacts

Anderson, D. M., Broton, K. M., Goldrick-Rab, S., & Kelchen, R. (2020). Experimental evidence on the impacts of need-based financial aid: Longitudinal assessment of the Wisconsin Scholars Grant. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 39(3), 720-739. (link)

Billings, M. S., Clayton, A. B., & Worsham, R. (2022). FAFSA and beyond: How advisers manage their administrative burden in the financial aid process. Journal of Student Financial Aid, 51(2), Article 2. (link)

Dynarski, S., Page, L. C., & Scott-Clayton, J. (2022). College costs, financial aid, and student decisions. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 30275. (link)

LaSota, R. R., Polanin, J. R., Perna, L. W., Austin, M. J., Steingut, R. R., & Rodgers, M. A. (2022). The effects of losing postsecondary student grant aid: Results from a systematic review. Educational Researcher, 51(2), 160-168. (link)

Page, L. C., Sacerdote, B. I, Goldrick-Rab, S., & Castleman, B. L. (2023). Financial aid nudges: A national experiment with informational interventions. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 45(2), 195-219. (link)

Student debt and financing college

Baker, D. J. (2019). When average is not enough: A case study examining the variation in the influences on undergraduate debt burden. AERA Open, 5(2), 1-26. (link)

Black, S. E., Denning, J. T., Dettling, L. J., Goodman, S., & Turner, L. (2020). Taking it to the limit: Effects of increased student loan availability on attainment, earnings, and financial well-being. American Economic Review, 113(12), 3357-3400. (link)

Boatman, A., Evans, B. J., & Soliz, A. (2017). Understanding loan aversion in education: Evidence from high school seniors, community college students, and adults. AERA Open, 3(1), 1-16. (link)

Dinerstein, M., Yannelis, C., & Chen, C. (2023). Debt moratoria: Evidence from student loan forbearance. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 31247. (link)

Levine, P. B., & Ritter, D. (2023). The racial wealth gap, financial aid, and college access. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. (link)

Free college/college promise programs

Carruthers, C. K., Fox, W. F., & Jepsen, C. (2023). What Knox achieved: Estimated effects of tuition-free community college on attainment and earnings. The Journal of Human Resources. (link)

Gándara, D., & Li, A. Y. (2020). Promise for whom? “Free-college” programs and enrollments by race and gender classifications at public, 2-year colleges. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 42(4), 603-627. (link)

Monaghan, D. B. (2023). How well do students understand “free community college”? Promise programs as informational interventions. AERA Open, 9(1), 1-13. (link)

Murphy, R., Scott-Clayton, J., & Wyness, G. (2017). Lessons from the end of free college in England. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution. (link)

Perna, L. W., Leigh, E. W., & Carroll, S. (2018). “Free college:” A new and improved state approach to increasing educational attainment? American Behavioral Scientist, 61(14), 1740-1756. (link)

Map of college promise/free college programs (Penn AHEAD) (link)

Returns to education

Conzelmann, J. G., Hemelt, S. W., Hershbein, B. J., Martin, S., Simon, A., & Stange, K. M. (2023). Grads on the go: Measuring college-specific labor markets for graduates. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. (link)

Darity, Jr., W. A., & Underwood, M. (2021). Reconsidering the relationship between higher education, earnings, and productivity. Postsecondary Value Commission. (link)

Deterding, N. M., & Pedulla, D. S. (2016). Educational authority in the “open door” marketplace: Labor market consequences of for-profit, nonprofit, and fictional educational credentials. Sociology of Education, 89(3), 155-170. (link)

Ma, J., & Pender, M. (2023). Education pays 2023: The benefits of higher education for individuals and society. The College Board. (link)

Webber, D. A. (2016). Are college costs worth it? How ability, major, and debt affect the returns to schooling. Economics of Education Review, 53, 296-310. (link)

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