Kevin Stange awarded Spencer Foundation grant

July 24, 2014

Ford School professor Kevin Stange has been awarded a $49,854 grant from the Spencer Foundation to study the effects of tuition deregulation on public high school graduates in Texas. The grant comes through the foundation's Education and Social Opportunity Area of Inquiry, which focuses on "studies that examine the ways in which differences in education experiences…translate into differences in employment, earning, and civic and social outcomes."

Since 2003, public universities in Texas, Florida, and Virginia have gained the right to determine their own tuitions, which had previously been the place of the state legislature. Over the past decade these universities have increased prices, especially for popular undergraduate majors, and the phenomenon of deregulation remains a topic of interest in state legislatures across the country, especially New York, Washington and Ohio, which are considering their own deregulation proposals.

Because few empirical studies have been conducted on the subject, legislators generally lack quantitative evidence of deregulation's effects on education, especially among women and minorities. Stange's grant will allow him to survey the enormous changes to the pricing structure of the University of Texas system and the effects of those changes on students from a broad spectrum of backgrounds. This dovetails with Stange's broader academic interests in labor, higher education, and public economics.

Kevin Stange is an assistant professor of public policy at the Ford School and a faculty affiliate with the school's Education Policy Initiative.