AuthorFITZGERALD, PHYLLIS ANN.
KeywordsUniversities and colleges -- Finance
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this exploratory study was to determine unit instructional costs and analyze the extent to which these costs differed in selected baccalaureate-level professional programs in a public Research I university. Interest also focused on the internal and external forces that impact on instructional costs in these programs. Double-digit inflation, declining state revenues, and projected enrollment decline have prompted legislators to ask (1) Why are increased appropriations for higher education needed, when enrollment projections indicate a decline? (2) Where in the public sector will the state realize the maximum benefit from any new dollars expended? Robinson, Ray, and Turk's environmental, volume, and decision forces that impact on cost behavior served as the analytical framework for this study. Presumed cost sources were identified, and costs were categorized into direct and indirect components. The research design included four phases of data collection; data collected provided responses to research questions concerning unit instructional costs in selected professional programs. Total costs per upper-division student credit hours in 1980-81 were highest for pharmaceutical science, followed by nursing, mining/geological engineering, architecture, civil engineering, secondary education, and accounting. Spearman rank correlation coefficients resulted in a -.86 correlation between average costs per student credit hour and student-faculty ratios, and a +.88 correlation between average costs per student credit hour and number of credits required for graduation. Interview responses by program administrators indicated that internal groups impacted more heavily on program policy issues overall than did external groups or organizations. The literature indicated that the accrediting agency was the only external force with substantial and consistent bearing on costs. The major conclusion drawn from this study was that, in relative terms, costs are very stable. Administrators must tailor a system of cost analysis that assesses the potential impact of proposed policy changes on program costs.
Degree ProgramHigher Education