Course Title: Financing Higher Education

        Instructor Professors Margaret Miller and David Breneman
       Institution University of Virginia
Office Number 434-243-8882
E-mail address

EDLF 857: Financing Higher Education: The Emerging Policy Issues
Spring 2002
Mondays, 1-3:45 PM Ruffner 102 & 122

Ruffner Hall, Room 173 924-3332 & 243-8882
Office Hours: Breneman, by appointment; Miller, Monday 10-12 and by appointment


This course will introduce students to the essential elements of the economic theories of public finance and human capital, to be used as frameworks for evaluating methods of financing higher education. We will examine the main financing options for higher education that have been proposed or implemented; college costs and prices; and emerging policy issues, such as those associated with the new for-profit educational entities. A background in economics is neither required for the course nor assumed by the professors.


All readings are to be done prior to the class for which they are assigned, and students will be responsible for knowledgeable participation in class discussion. Each will submit to the class Website by midnight the Sunday before class each week either a paper or a set of 3-5 questions on the material. Students can decide when to submit each type of weekly assignment, but by the end of the semester they will have
· Submitted 7 short (3-5 pages) papers (not counting the brief assignment the second week);
· Submitted 3 question sets
· Led the discussion of one week's material with another student (see Dr. Miller at least a week prior to the class in regarding format);
· Engaged in a simulation exercise; and
· Taken the final exam.
One-third of the grade will be based on participation (participating in and leading class discussion, question sets, and simulation), one-third on the weekly papers, and one-third on the final exam.

Learning goals

By the end of the course, students should have gained the following:
· An understanding of the larger picture of college finance, undergraduate student financial aid, and emerging higher education finance policy issues;
· Comprehension of the roles of individuals, institutions, states, the federal government, and private enterprise in that picture;
· Knowledge of key points of view and arguments for and against various policy strategies for funding higher education; and
· A capacity to analyze and write as professionals on these topics: knowledgeably, logically, succinctly, and clearly.

Students will not learn from this course
· How to manage an institution (although there will be an introduction to the concepts involved in doing so),
· About research funding, or
· About graduate education.

Books required:

Sandy Baum, Higher Education Dollars and Sense, College Entrance Examination Board

Ford Policy Forum 2001: Exploring the Economics of Higher Education, Forum for the Future of Higher Education (provided)

Michael S. McPherson and Morton Owen Schapiro, The Student Aid Game: Meeting Need and Rewarding Talent in American Higher Education, Princeton University Press

Michael B. Paulsen and John C. Smart, eds., The Finance of Higher Education : Theory, Research, Policy & Practice, Algora

Schedule: Except for the books listed above, materials are provided free of charge and distributed in class. Those marked with an asterisk [*] can be found on the course web site, Spring_EDLF587-1 and can be downloaded and printed by each student. To sign up for Toolkit, go to and register for your student account.

January 21: Introduction

January 28: Overview of Issues
Baum, Higher Education Dollars and Sense

* Howard R. Bowen, "Society, Students and Parents-A Joint Responsibility: Finance and the Aims of American Higher Education," ASHE Reader on Finance in Higher Education (1993), Ginn Press, pp. 437-448.

February 4: Revenues and Expenditures
Paulsen & Smart, chapters 1 & 2

February 11: Economic Theory
Paulsen & Smart chapters 3 & 4

* Patrick M. Callan and Joni E. Finney, "Assessing Educational Capital,"
National Center for Pubic Policy and Higher Education (forthcoming)

David Breneman, "The Outputs of Higher Education," Ford Policy Forum 2001.

February 18: State Financing of Public Higher Education
Ronald G. Ehrenberg, "The Supply of Americn Higher Educational Institutions," Ford Policy Forum 2001.

Daniel T. Layzell and Jan W. Lyddon, "Budgeting for Higher Education at the State Level: Enigma, Paradox, and Ritual," ASHE Reader on Finance in Higher Education (1993), pp. 311-330.

* Martin M. Ahumada, "An Analysis of State Formula Budgeting in Higher Education," ASHE Reader on Finance in Higher Education (1993), pp. 331-354.

Harold A. Hovey, "State Spending for Higher Education in the Next Decade: The Battle to Sustain Current Support," The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

February 25: Cost and Price
Paulsen & Smart chapters 5 & 6

* William J. Baumol and Sue Anne Batey Blackman, "How to Think About Rising College Costs," Planning for Higher Education, Vol. 23, Summer 1995.

* Gordon Winston, "College Costs: Subsidies, Intuition and Policy," NCES.

* David Breneman, "An Essay on College Costs"

March 4: Federal Role in Financial Aid
McPherson and Schapiro parts 1 & 2

Paulsen & Smart chapter 7

Thomas Kane, "Assessing the U.S. Financial Aid System: What We Know, What We Need to Know," Ford Policy Forum 2001.

Kristin D. Conklin, "Federal Tuition Tax Credits and State Higher Education Policy: A Guide for State Policy Makers," The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, December 1998.

March 12: Spring Break

March 18: State and Institutional Strategies
McPherson and Schapiro parts 3 & 4

* William G. Bowen and David W. Breneman, "Student Aid: Price Discount or Educational Investment?" The College Board Review, No. 167, Spring 1993

* Susan Dynarski, "Hope for Whom? Financial Aid for the Middle Class and Its Impact on College Attendance," National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 7756, June 2000

March 25: Affordability
McPherson and Schapiro part 5

Paulsen & Smart chapter 8

* Joni E. Finney, "Losing Ground: A National Status Report on the Affordability of Higher Education" National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (forthcoming)

April 1: Financing Private Higher Education
Paulsen & Smart chapters 9 & 12

April 8 College and University Budgeting
Paulsen & Smart chapter 14

* Gordon Winston, "The Necessary Revolution in Financial Accounting," Planning for Higher Education, Vol. 20, Summer 1992.

* Jon Strauss, John Curry, and Edward Whalen, "Revenue Responsibility Budgeting," ASHE Reader on Finance in Higher Education (2001), Pearson Custom Publishing, pp. 591-607.

April 15 Budget Simulation Exercise
Virtual University

April 23 For-profit providers
* David Breneman, "The University of Phoenix" (forthcoming)

* Michael Goldstein, "Capital Ideas," University Business, October 1999

* Gordon C. Winston, "For-Profit Higher Education" (forthcoming)

April 29 E-learning

Kenneth C. Green, "Digital Dilemmas: Cosmopolitans, Content, and Productivity," Ford Policy Forum 2001

* Saul Fisher, "Teaching and Technology: Promising Directions for Research on Online Learning and Distance Education in the Selective Institutions," Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

* William A. Wulf, "University Alert: The Information Railroad Is Coming," University of Virginia.

* James J. Duderstadt, "The Future of the University in the Digital Age," American Philosophical Society, November 1999.

May 7 Final exam due

Additional readings:

* Roger Benjamin, "Looming Deficits: Causes, Consequences, and Cures."

* Joseph Burke et al, Performance Funding and Budgeting: An Emerging Merger? The Fourth
Annual Survey (2000)

* David Breneman, "Privatization of University Services."

* David Collis, "When Industries Change: Scenarios for Higher Education."

* David Collis, "When Industries Change Revisited: New Scenarios for Higher Education."

* Michael Goldstein, "To Be for Profit or Not to Be for Profit."

* Arthur Hauptman and Lois Rice, "Coordinating Financial Aid With Tuition Tax Benefits"

* Ted Marchese, "Not-So-Distant Competitors: How New Providers Are Remaking the Postsecondary Marketplace" and "Not-So-Distant Competitors: Readers React."

* William Massey and Andrea Wilger, "Faculty Productivity."

* Sharon Oster, "Privatizing University Services."

* Howard Tuckman, "Competition, Commercialization, and the Evolution of Nonprofit Organizations"

* Gordon Winston, "Subsidies, Hierarchies, and Peers: The Awkward Economics of Higher Education."

* Robert Zemsky and William Massey, "Expanding Perimeters, Melting Cores, and Sticky Functions: Toward an Understanding of Current Predicaments"



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