Rising Tuition and Enrollment in Public Higher Education

34 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2008  

Steven W. Hemelt

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Dave E. Marcotte

University of Maryland Baltimore County; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

In this paper we review recent trends in tuition at public universities and estimate impacts on enrollment. We use data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System on all public four-year colleges and universities from 1991 to 2007 and illustrate that tuition increased dramatically beginning in the early part of this decade, increasing at rates unprecedented in the past half century. We examine impacts of these tuition increases on total enrollment and credit hours, and estimate differences by type of institution. We estimate that the average tuition and fee elasticity of total headcount is -0.1072. So, at the mean a $100 increase in tuition and fees (in 2006 dollars) would lead to a decline in enrollment of a little more than 0.25 percent, with larger effects at Research I universities. We find no evidence that especially large increases from one year to the next have a disproportionately large negative effect on enrollment.

Keywords: higher education, tuition, enrollment

JEL Classification: I2, I21, I23

Suggested Citation

Hemelt, Steven W. and Marcotte, Dave E., Rising Tuition and Enrollment in Public Higher Education. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3827. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1305811 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Steven W. Hemelt (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill ( email )

CB #3265
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27599
United States

Dave E. Marcotte

University of Maryland Baltimore County ( email )

1000 Hilltop Circle
Policy Sciences Graduate Program 621 Administration Building
Baltimore, MD 21250
United States
410-455-1455 (Phone)
410-455-1172 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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