Advertisement

The Effects of State Higher Education Policies and Institutions on Access by Economically Disadvantaged Students

  • Robert C. Lowry
Article

Abstract

Do state government policies and institutions promote access to postsecondary education by economically disadvantaged students? I analyze the number of state residents receiving federal Pell grants relative to the college-age population raised in low-income households. Using data for 1993–2008, I estimate separate models for total Pell recipients and for those enrolled in public, private nonprofit, and proprietary institutions. I find consistent evidence that state spending on both need- and merit-based financial aid enhances access by economically disadvantaged students, with the effects of need-based aid being larger and more robust than those of aid based at least in part on merit. I also find that students in states with consolidated governing boards have slightly greater access to public and nonprofit institutions than those with statewide coordinating boards. Enrollment by economically disadvantaged students in the public and proprietary sectors also responds to the opportunity costs of attending college, as measured by the state unemployment rate. I do not find evidence of direct effects from state policies limiting affirmative action, or political elites’ ideology.

Keywords

Student access State financial aid Education inequality Economically disadvantaged students Higher education governance 

References

  1. An Hereditary Meritocracy, The Economist, January 24–30, 2015, 17–20.Google Scholar
  2. Berdahl, R. O. (1971). Statewide coordination of higher education. Washington, DC: American Council on Education.Google Scholar
  3. Berger, M. C., & Kostal, T. (2002). Financial resources, regulation, and enrollment in U.S. public higher education. Economics of Education Review, 21(April), 101–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berry, W. D., Fording, R. C., Ringquist, E. J., Hanson, R. L., & Klarner, C. E. (2010). Measuring citizen and government ideology in the U.S. states: A reappraisal. State Politics and Policy Quarterly, 10(Summer), 117–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Callan, P. M. (2011). Reframing access and opportunity: Public policy dimensions. In D. E. Heller (Ed.), The states and public higher education policy: Affordability, access, and accountability (2nd ed., pp. 87–105). Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cornwell, C., Mustard, D. M., & Sridhar, D. J. (2006). The enrollment effects of merit-based financial aid: Evidence from Georgia’s HOPE program. Journal of Labor Economics, 24(October), 761–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Delaney, J. A., & Doyle, W. R. (2011). State spending on higher education: Testing the balance wheel over time. Journal of Education Finance, 36(Spring), 343–368.Google Scholar
  8. Education Commission of the States. (2017). 50-State comparison: Postsecondary governance structures. Retrieved 21 June, 2017, from http://www.ecs.org/postsecondary-governance-structures/.
  9. Flores, S. M. (2010). State dream acts: The effect of in-state tuition policies and undocumented latino students. The Review of Higher Education, 33(Winter), 239–283.Google Scholar
  10. Flores, S. M., & Shepherd, J. C. (2014). Pricing out the disadvantaged? The effect of tuition deregulation in texas public four-year institutions. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science., 655(September), 99–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fryar, A. H., & Hawes, D. P. (2012). Competing explanations for minority enrollments in higher education. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 22(January), 83–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Georgia Student Finance Commission. (2017). HOPE Scholarship eligible institutions FY 2017. Retrieved 19 June, 2017, from https://www.gafutures.org/media/113357/hope-scholarship-eligible-institutions.pdf.
  13. Graham, H. D. (1989). Structure and governance in American higher education: Historical and comparative analysis in state policy. Journal of Policy History, 1(January), 80–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harwell, M., & Lebeau, B. (2010). Student eligibility for a free lunch as an SES measure in education research. Educational Researcher, 39(March), 120–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heller, D. E. (1999). The effects of tuition and state financial aid on public college enrollment. The Review of Higher Education, 23(Fall), 65–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hicklin, A. (2007). The effect of race-based admissions in public universities: Debunking the myths about Hopwood and Proposition 209. Public Administration Review, 67(March/April), 331–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hicklin, A., & Meier, K. J. (2008). Race, structure, and state governments: The politics of higher education diversity. Journal of Politics, 70(July), 851–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hillman, N. W., Tandberg, D. A., & Gross, J. P. K. (2014). Market-based higher education: Does Colorado’s voucher model improve higher education access and efficiency? Research in Higher Education, 55(February), 601–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hoxby, C. M. (1997). How the changing market structure of U.S. higher education explains college tuition. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 6323, December.Google Scholar
  20. Jaquette, O., Curs, B. R., & Posselt, J. R. (2016). Tuition rich, mission poor: Nonresident enrollment growth and the socioeconomic and racial composition of public research universities. The Journal of Higher Education., 87(September/October), 635–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kane, T. J. (1999). The price of admission: rethinking how Americans pay for college. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  22. Knott, J. H., & Payne, A. A. (2004). The impact of state governance structures on management and performance of public organizations: A study of higher education institutions. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 23, 13–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lowry, R. C. (2001). Governmental structure, trustee selection, and public university prices and spending: Multiple means to similar ends. American Journal of Political Science, 45(October), 845–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lowry, R. C. (2016). Subsidizing institutions vs. outputs vs. individuals: States’ choices for financing public postsecondary education. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 26(April), 197–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McLendon, M. K., Tandberg, D. A., & Hillman, N. W. (2014). Financing college opportunity: Factors influencing state spending on student financial aid and campus appropriations, 1990 through 2010. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 655, 143–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mettler, S. (2014). Degrees of inequality: How higher education politics sabotaged the American dream. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  27. Molloy, R., Smith, C. L., & Wozniak, A. (2011). Internal migration in the United States. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(Summer), 173–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs. (1993–1994 through 2008–2009). Annual survey report on state-sponsored student financial aid. Washington, DC: NASSGAP.Google Scholar
  29. National Center for Education Statistics. (2017a). Data Lab. Retrieved 18 June, 2017, from https://nces.ed.gov/datalab/.
  30. National Center for Education Statistics. (2017b). IPEDS analytics: Delta cost Project Database. Retrieved 27 September, 2017, from https://deltacostproject.org/delta-cost-project-database.
  31. National Conference of State Legislatures. (2014). Affirmative action: State action. Retrieved 7 August, 2015, from http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/affirmative-action-state-action.aspx.
  32. National Conference of State Legislatures. (2015). Tuition benefits for immigrants. Retrieved 7 August, 2015, from http://www.ncsl.org/research/immigration/tuition-benefits-for-immigrants.aspx.
  33. Nicholson-Crotty, J., & Meier, K. J. (2003). Politics, structure and public policy: The case of higher education. Educational Policy, 17(January and March), 80–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Perna, L. W., & Titus, M. A. (2004). Understanding differences in the choice of college attended: The role of state public policies. The Review of Higher Education, 27(Summer), 501–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Postsecondary Education Opportunity. (2015). Policy Research Spreadsheets. Retrieved 2 June, 2015, from http://www.postsecondary.org/spreadslist.asp.
  36. Snyder, T. & Musu-Gillette, L. (2015). Free or reduced price lunch: A proxy for poverty? NCES Blog, April 16. Retrieved 15 August, 2017, from https://nces.ed.gov/blogs/nces/post/free-or-reduced-price-lunch-a-proxy-for-poverty.
  37. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. (2017). Research and Project Grants. Retrieved 7 July, 2017, from http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=B85D3933-C8DB-F8A6-3E2C2992B67B1058.
  38. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. (2016). Closing the gaps final progress report. Retrieved 7 July, 2017, from http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/PDF/8138.PDF?CFID=62655686&CFTOKEN=47774728.
  39. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). State employment and unemployment archived news releases. Retrieved 3 March, 2018, from https://www.bls.gov/bls/news-release/laus.htm.
  40. U.S. Department of Education. (1993–1994 through 2008–2009). Federal pell grant program end of year report. Retrieved 26 June, 2017, from https://www2.ed.gov/finaid/prof/resources/data/pell-data.html.
  41. U.S. Department of Education. (2009). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Education Jobs and Reform. Retrieved 2 December, 2015, from http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/factsheet/overview.html.
  42. U.S. Department of Education. (2015). Federal student aid. Retrieved 22 December, 2018, from https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/non-us-citizens.
  43. U.S. Bureau of the Census. Various years. Statistical Abstract of the United States. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/time-series/statistical_abstracts.html.
  44. Zumeta, W. (2001). State policies and private higher education in the USA: Understanding the variation in comparative perspective. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 13(August), 425–442.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economic, Political and Policy SciencesThe University of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA

Personalised recommendations