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New research unearths the discrepancies of higher ed costs

December 6, 2018

Not all degrees are of equal cost in the world of higher education. That is what Kevin Stange’s, assistant professor at the Ford School, new research paper reveals, as reported in Inside Higher Ed. “Why Teaching Engineering Costs More Than Teaching English” by Marjorie Valburn on December 4, 2018 details the research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The paper finds disparities in the cost of teaching different subjects at higher education institutions. While the costs vary widely, typically there was a correlation between fields where graduates earned more and the academic field. The authors suggest that a clearer picture of the cost differences can lead to better allocation of resources. “The questions is what kind of return we’re getting on these investments and how can it be improved?,” Stange, a lead author of the report, noted of the research’s implications.

Regarding the methodology, Stange explained it was a thorough approach. “We wanted to establish a baseline set of facts that are sort of true for the industry overall.” To achieve this, the data comes from more than 550 institutions between 2000 and 2015.

Read more at Inside Higher Ed.

Kevin Stange is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan where he teaches graduate courses in higher education policy, economics, and quantitative methods. He is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Faculty Affiliate of the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education and the Education Policy Initiative, both at University of Michigan.