Time cites Kevin Stange study on outcomes of differential tuition

January 3, 2013

As college tuition prices skyrocket and interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors remains stagnant, can lowering the price of tuition for more technical majors garner increased interest? That's the proposition currently being considered by Florida Governor Rick Scott's task force on higher education, according to an article at Time.com. The proposal includes freezing tuition costs in technical "strategic fields" while letting tuition rise in the humanities and other fields.

Cited in the Time article, research conducted by Ford School Assistant Professor Kevin Stange suggests that higher prices do tend to discourage students. For example, a $1,000 change in college costs is associated with a five percentage point difference in college enrollment rates. Stange cautioned, however, that the answer may not be as simple as lowering tuition. "When institutions start charging more for engineering and business," he observed, "we do see a decline in the number of students pursuing those degrees." But, Stange added, "getting humanities majors to become engineering majors is probably a stretch."