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IJIET 2016 Vol.6(9): 664-671 ISSN: 2010-3689
DOI: 10.7763/IJIET.2016.V6.771

College Costs, Freshman Enrollment, and Student Quality: Evidence from an Urban State University

Su-Jane Chen

Abstract—This research examines the impact of rising college costs on first-time, full-time resident freshman enrollment and quality at a large, urban, public teaching university in the time period 2001-2013. Test results show that freshman enrollment reacts significantly negatively to full-time tuition and fees, with the price elasticity surpassing unity in 2012 and 2013.The steadily increasing education cost has priced out a majority of incoming freshmen who are in the bottom quarter of their high school graduating class, student quality raised from punishing presumably the most economically disadvantaged group. This study also investigates how the university’s freshman enrollment responds to tuition and fees charged by its two peers located on the same campus, a state research institution and a community college. No competitive threat comes from the research institution, suggesting that the two universities are in different market enclaves. In contrast, a weak substitution effect is documented between the target institution and the community college. Thus, it is important for the teaching institution to monitor the community college’s price as well as its own. In light of President Obama administration’s intention to make community colleges virtually free of cost, this realization could not have come at a more critical point.

Index Terms—Freshman enrollment, price elasticity, student quality, tuition and fees.

Su-Jane Chen is with the Department of Finance, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO 80217 USA (e-mail: chens@msudenver.edu).


Cite: Su-Jane Chen, "College Costs, Freshman Enrollment, and Student Quality: Evidence from an Urban State University," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 6, no. 9, pp. 664-671, 2016.

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Steve Thatcher
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (CiteScore 2022: 2.0), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Google Scholar
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net


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