Trends in Revenues at US Colleges and Universities, 1987-2013
This Economic Commentary studies trends in inflated-adjusted revenues per student at US colleges and universities in broad revenue categories between 1987 and 2013. The findings show that, as is widely perceived, tuition revenue has risen over time at both public and private institutions. In recent years, tuition revenue at public institutions has been nearly as large a source of revenue as state and local government funding has been. Revenue from state and local governments has fluctuated at public institutions but has generally fallen over time, whereas funding from the federal government ...
Custom Comparison Groups in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
This Economic Commentary studies the behavior of colleges when they are asked to list a set of comparison group colleges in annual data reporting for the US Department of Education but are given little direction on how to do so. I find that, relative to themselves, colleges tend to list for comparison colleges that are more selective, are larger, and have better resources. One possible interpretation of these findings is that colleges overestimate where they stand relative to others, although an alternative interpretation is that colleges have accurate views but list comparison institutions ...
Affirmative Action and Racial Segregation
Prior research suggests that statewide affirmative action bans reduce minority enrollment at selective colleges while leaving overall minority college enrollment unchanged. However, the effect of these bans on across-college racial segregation has not yet been estimated. This effect is theoretically ambiguous due to a U-shaped relationship across colleges between minority enrollment and college selectivity. This paper uses variation in the timing of affirmative action bans across states to estimate their effects on racial segregation as measured by standard exposure and dissimilarity indexes, ...
The Impact of Tobacco-Free School Laws on Student and Staff Smoking Behavior
A number of US states have enacted bans on tobacco use by students, staff, and visitors anywhere on the grounds of public elementary and secondary schools statewide. These laws are intended to reduce tobacco use, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, reinforce anti-tobacco curricula taught in schools, and prevent children from viewing their teachers and fellow students using tobacco products. We examine the impact that the laws have on the smoking behavior of students, teachers, and other school staff by estimating difference-in-differences models that exploit the time variation in adoption of ...
What Kind of Teachers Are Schools Looking For? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment
Teacher quality is a pressing public policy concern, yet there is little evidence on what types of teachers schools actually prefer to hire. This paper reports the results of an experiment that involved sending schools fictitious resumes with randomly-chosen characteristics in an attempt to determine what characteristics schools value when hiring new teachers. The results of the study suggest that an applicant?s academic background has little impact on the likelihood of success at private and charter schools, although public schools respond more favorably to candidates from more selective ...
COVID-19 and Education: A Survey of the Research
This Commentary reviews evidence on three areas of concern related to the COVID-19 pandemic and education in the United States for which research currently exists. First, the evidence suggests that the spread of the COVID-19 virus at K–12 schools has been low, although it may have spread through colleges at a higher rate. Second, while anecdotal evidence suggests that school closures have reduced labor force participation, the research evidence thus far does not find much support for this situation. Third, the limited research evidence does, however, suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is ...
An Empirical Analysis of Racial Segregation in Higher Education
This descriptive paper documents how segregation between blacks and whites across colleges in the United States has evolved since the 1960s. It also explores potential channels through which changes are occurring, and it uses recent data to study the issue of segregation within colleges. The main findings are as follows: (1) White exposure to blacks has been rising since the 1960s, whereas black exposure to whites increased sharply in the late 1960s and early 1970s and has fluctuated since then. Meanwhile, black-white dissimilarity and the Theil index fell sharply in the late 1960s and early ...
Trends in Expenditures by US Colleges and Universities, 1987-2013
This Economic Commentary studies trends in spending by US colleges and universities in broad expenditure categories between 1987 and 2013. The results reveal that spending per student has risen in most major spending categories. This is true for both public institutions and private institutions. However, spending has risen more dramatically in some categories than others. For example, research is one category that has witnessed among the highest spending growth, and in percentage terms, there has also been a large increase in student services spending.
This Economic Commentary documents the large dispersion in the value of college endowments across institutions and also shows how endowment values have changed over time. It also provides information on the number of institutions that may be affected by the new federal "endowment tax" and how that number may fluctuate over time.
Do Affirmative Action Bans Cause Students to Move Across State Lines to Attend College?
This Economic Commentary studies whether statewide bans on affirmative action in admission to public universities cause students to move to a new state to attend college. Regression results using data from the decennial census and the American Community Survey provide little evidence that affirmative action bans result in migration across state lines to attend college. In addition to being of direct interest, these results provide a check on earlier research that treats different states roughly as separate higher education markets.