Student costs and enrollment in private, less than highly competitive, baccalaureate institutions

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University of Alabama Libraries

Private, not-for-profit, Baccalaureate institutions have played an important role in the history of American higher education. These institutions have their beginnings in the traditional liberal arts institutions that were established for training clergy and community leaders. These institutions still play a vital role in the higher education landscape. This study explored the relationship between institutional characteristics, student cost, and enrollment in an effort to document the trends from 1988 to 2008 and to determine any predictive value based upon those trends. A study population that included private, not-for-profit, less than highly competitive institutions was examined and disaggregated into cohorts based upon geographic region, Carnegie 2005 Basic Classification, and HBCU status. The results of descriptive statistics and data analyses show that enrollments remained relatively stable among this sector of higher education while the costs increased. The characteristics shown to have the greatest impact on cost were being located in the Northeast region, being a Baccalaureate Arts and Sciences institution, and not having designation as an HBCU. Enrollments were slightly negatively correlated with the mean cost changes. Findings, conclusions and recommendations are discussed at the end of the study. By examining this sector of higher education, the researcher sought to gain a better understanding of the relationship among institutional characteristics, student cost, and enrollment. Increased knowledge of this sector of higher education can assist higher education professionals to be better prepared for institutional planning and public policy discussion.

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Higher education