Does Distance Matter? Tuition Fees and Enrollment of First-Year Students at German Public Universities

38 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2013

See all articles by Kerstin Bruckmeier

Kerstin Bruckmeier

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Georg-Benedikt Fischer

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Berthold U. Wigger

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Date Written: May 31, 2013

Abstract

We use the recent introduction of tuition fees at public universities in seven of the sixteen German states to identify the effects of tuition fees on university enrollment of first-year students at German public universities. Our study differs from previous research in two important ways. Firstly, we take into account the location of universities and include a spatial variable, which measures the distance between a fee-imposing university and the nearest fee-free alternative. Secondly, we use panel data that allows us to control for unobserved heterogeneity between universities. Our results suggest that enrollment at universities that impose a tuition fee and that are located close to fee-free universities experience a decrease in enrollment that is twice as large as the decrease at universities that are further away from fee-free universities. We also find gender differences in enrollment behavior. Enrollment numbers of female students at universities that are located far away from fee-free alternatives are significantly less affected by the introduction of tuition fees than are enrollment numbers of male students.

Keywords: tuition fees, distance measure, enrollment rates, gender effects

JEL Classification: I220, I230, H750

Suggested Citation

Bruckmeier, Kerstin and Fischer, Georg-Benedikt and Wigger, Berthold U., Does Distance Matter? Tuition Fees and Enrollment of First-Year Students at German Public Universities (May 31, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2277418 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2277418

Kerstin Bruckmeier

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

Georg-Benedikt Fischer

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

Berthold U. Wigger (Contact Author)

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology ( email )

Kaiserstraße 12
Karlsruhe, Baden Württemberg 76131
Germany

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