Rethinking Tuition Effects on Enrollment in Public Four-year Colleges and Universities

Jung-cheol Shin, Sande Milton
2006 Review of higher education (Print)  
To date, the literature on estimating tuition elasticities has been narrowly focused by analyzing primarily four-year universities. We use data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) on all United States public 2-year colleges from 2004 to 2011 and examine the tuition elasticity of enrollment across the four major U.S. Census regions. By examining the tuition elasticity of enrollment for two-year public colleges, this paper helps to fill the under-researched aspect of
more » ... w tuition levels influence campus enrollments at community colleges where the mission is to serve the greatest number of students in the community at an affordable cost. Empirical evidence presented here suggests that the nationwide tuition elasticity of total enrollment is -0.263. At the mean, a $100 increase in tuition and fees would lead to a decline in enrollment of about 0.883%. We find considerable differences across regional tuition elasticity of enrollment. Our results suggest that community colleges are normal goods and substitutes to four-year institutions. We consider the distribution of tuition increases among income groups and find that tuition increases are regressive. Lastly, we find that competition between border counties plays an essential role in determining the effects of tuition increases.
doi:10.1353/rhe.2005.0086 fatcat:6gaatsw2gvdkzjlaiauzk27qle