Cost Containment for Higher Education: Strategies for Public Policy and Institutional Administration

By William Brand Simpson | Go to book overview

7
Containing Total Cost Through Tuition Policy

We are focusing in this work on strategies for containing or reducing costs rather than on policy alternatives for increasing the revenue of an institution. Nevertheless, policies adopted with respect to tuition, the provision of student financial assistance, and requirements as to student employment have important implications for total cost. It is to these that we turn our attention in the present chapter.

Policies affecting the cost to a student of attending a college or university need to steer a course between avoiding cost to society in the form of benefits foregone due to inadequacies in the extent or quality of the education that is undertaken, and avoiding cost in the form of inputs purchased that are wasted as a result of overextending education such that benefit falls short of the cost.

The precision of the determination is affected by the noncommensurable nature of certain inputs and outputs. Judgments are required as to the weights to attach to the sacrifices and benefits involved.


SUBSIDIZING THE SOCIAL OPTIMUM

An individual would regard it as worthwhile to undertake an additional year of education, or seek a higher level of quality, as long as the additional perceived personal benefits exceed or just become equal to the additional cost to that individual.

There are benefits to society in addition to those that the individual perceives as being capturable. These tend not to enter into an individ-

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