Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick M. Jenlink

Second Advisor

Dr. Lowell G. Kafer

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Hodge


The purpose of this study was to ascertain how enrollment and financial factors affect tuition at public comprehensive universities and colleges, and to determine the relative influences that these factors are likely to have on future tuition levels.

The study methodology included the analysis of 4 years of tuition, enrollment, and financial data for fiscal years 1987 through 1990 of public comprehensive universities and colleges located within the contiguous 48 states of the United States. In each of the 4 years being studied, approximately 300 institutions completed the IPEDS surveys to allow them to be included in the study.

The effects on both the level of undergraduate tuition and tuition revenue were analyzed using a four-factor model as the conceptual framework for this study. The four factors included in the model were: enrollment, nontuition revenue, resources invested, and student aid. The financial factors, nontuition revenue and resources, are an accumulation of 14 subfactors. The conceptual hypothesis was that a linear relationship existed between tuition and the factors and subfactors.

Descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, and stepwise multiple regression analysis were used to study the relationships between tuition and the factors and subfactors. The data were analyzed on a national and regional basis.

Based on the correlation coefficients and the multiple regression analysis, there was little or no linear relationship between undergraduate tuition and the factors and subfactors in the study. Although the fourfactor model had low predictive value for undergraduate tuition, the model was highly predictive of tuition revenue. Using stepwise multiple regression the four-factor model predicted over 90% of the variance in each of 4 years studied.

Findings of this study show that there are different patterns of pricing, enrollment, revenue, functional expenditures, and student aid among the four geographical regions of the United States and the United States as a whole. These patterns were sufficiently different to warrant future study and inclusion of geographic regions in any national peer study on tuition, enrollment, and financial factors.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access