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Improving Data and Measures for Decision-Making about College Costs The Delta Cost Project Jane Wellman and Colleen Lenihan NCES/AIR National Summer Data Policy Institute June 24, 2010. Topics to cover . Context for the work; focus and audience

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Improving Data and Measures for Decision-Making about College Costs The Delta Cost Project Jane Wellman and Colleen Lenihan NCES/AIR

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Improving Data and Measures for Decision-Making about College Costs

The Delta Cost Project

Jane Wellman and Colleen Lenihan

NCES/AIR

National Summer Data Policy Institute

June 24, 2010


Topics to cover

  • Context for the work; focus and audience

  • Methodological challenges to measures of college costs

  • Developing a longitudinal data base

  • Focus on six metrics

  • Web-based data on TCS-online

  • State-level metrics


Estimating the gap -Nationwide


Methodological issues w/measuring college costs

  • Data Sources: consistency and reliability; granularity

  • Issues that need to be resolved in developing cost metrics for comparative/longitudinal analysis

    • Institutional typology

    • Separating inputs from outputs

    • Unit of analysis: Student (FTE/Headcount); Faculty/staff, other (research outputs)

    • Assigning costs to functions

    • Separating instruction and research


Methodological issues… continued

  • Distributing shared costs for academic and institutional support, operations and maintenance

  • Treatment of scholarships, tuition ‘discounts’ and unfunded aid

  • Isolating costs of instruction by level of instruction (LD, UD, Graduate, Professional)

  • Isolating costs by discipline

  • Adjusting for inflation

  • Accounting for capital costs

  • Treatment of revenues from endowments and investments.


Methodology determined by audience and data limitations

  • For aggregate data on national trends, IPEDS data provides consistent and reliable source – but still needs work

  • Following Bowen, NCHEMS, Jenny, and others – standard cost-per student methodology

  • Operating expenses only


Developing the database: data sources

  • IPEDS, Academic years 1987 – 2008

    • Completions

    • Employees by Assigned Position

    • Enrollments

    • Faculty Salaries

    • Fall Staff

    • Finance

    • Institutional Characteristics

    • Student Financial Aid

  • FISAP 1998-2008


Developing the database: organizing the data

  • Reconciling revenue and expenditures across the various reporting standards

  • Carnegie classifications – Carnegie 2000 v. Carnegie 2005

  • Consistency in grouped/ungrouped data

  • Inflation adjustor CPI-U

  • All reported on per FTE student basis


Developing the panels

  • For any N-year set (5, 10, 20, and Trends) an institution needed to report the following elements in each year:

    • Instruction expenditures (instruction01)

    • Enrollment (fte_count)

    • Completions awarded (total_completions)

  • Imputations for missing data

  • Outliers removed

  • U.S. only

  • Resulting panel size/different years


Composition of the panel

  • Public research universities- 152 institutions

  • Public master’s– 231 institutions

  • Public community colleges – 785 institutions

  • Private nonprofit research –100 institutions

  • Private nonprofit master’s – 317 institutions

  • Private nonprofit bachelor’s –471 institutions

    Collectively more than 90 percent of all two and four year public and private non-profit institutions


Primary focus on six metrics(all cost adjusted using CPI-U/FTE in 2008 $)

1.Where the money comes from: revenues per student by major source

2.Where the money goes

  • E&R, E&G, total operating

  • Within E&R

    3.Relation between tuition and spending increases

    4.Cost/price/subsidy

    5.Cost per degree

    6. Costs v. enrollments


Why these metrics?

  • Can be developed with existing data

  • Can be aggregated to national, state, or institutional level

  • Organized to be relevant to policy-decisions made by legislatures, governing boards

    • Revenues

    • Tuition

    • Subsidy

    • Production


1. Where the money comes from

Source: Delta Cost Project IPEDS database, 1987-2008, 11-year matched set. Note: In private institutions, investment returns include unrealized gains/losses.


2. Where the money goesHow much goes to core academic/educational programs?

Education and related expenses (E&R)

  • Instruction, student services, and educational share of academic & institutional support and Operations and Maintenance (O&M)

    Education and general expenses (E&G)

  • E&R plus sponsored research, public service, and net scholarships/fellowships

    Total operating expenses

  • All of the above plus auxiliary enterprises, independent operations, hospitals, and “other”


*Note: In 1998, public institutions reported gross scholarships and fellowships.

Source: Delta Cost Project IPEDS Database, 1987-2008, 11-year matched set.


2b. Average education and related (E&R) spending per FTE student, by component, at public institutions, 1998-2008 (in 2008 $).


2c. Average education and related (E&R) spending per FTE student, by component, at private nonprofit institutions, 1998-2008 (in 2008 $).


3:Relationship between tuition and spending increases


4. Cost/Price/Subsidy What proportion of E&R costs are paid by students, and what by the institution/state?

  • Cost: Average E&R spending per student

  • Price: Proportion of cost paid from net tuition revenues

  • Subsidy: Proportion of cost paid from institutional revenues (Cost less price)


Source: Delta Cost Project IPEDS database, 1987-2008, 11-year matched set.


5: Spending per Degree and Completion, AY1998-2008 (in 2008 $)

Source: Delta Cost Project IPEDS Database, 1987-2008, 11-year matched set.


5a. Definitions: Degrees/Completions

  • Standard IPEDS category for many years

  • “Degrees” = all degrees, all levels and disciplines

  • “Completions” = all degrees plus any other ‘completion’ – diploma, certificate, etc. Most relevant for community colleges.

    Degrees and Completions per 100 FTE students:

  • Different than “cohort” – aggregate measure of all degree/completion output per enrolled student

  • Captures CC transfers and other students who do not start as full-time freshmen


5b: Total degrees and completions per 100 FTE students, AY1998-2008

Source: Delta Cost Project IPEDS Database, 1987-2008, 11-year matched set.


Delta Cost Project TCS Online

Trends in College Spending (TCS) Online is a free, user-friendly, online data system www.tcs-online.org

TCS Online provides standardized reports for:

  • Focus and comparison institutions

  • Individual institution snapshots

  • U.S. Carnegie Group averages

    Using DCP finance and performance metrics:

  • User-defined year selections and inflation adjustors

  • Dollar amounts per FTE student

  • Group means/medians

  • Percent change

  • Also includes enrollment data (by status, level, and race/ethnicity)

    Various output options:

    • Single or multi-year

  • Tables and graphs (single year only)

  • Html, excel, and pdf


  • State Fact Sheets

    For public institutions only, state level data showing key DCP metrics from 2003-2008:

    • where the students are

    • cost/price/subsidy

    • student share of costs

    • instruction share of costs

    • completions per 100 FTE students

    • spending per completion

    • comparisons to national averages

  • Created to provide precise data at the institution and Carnegie classification level by untangling “parent-child” reported data, which is only possible in more recent years.


  • For more information, visit the Delta Project website, at:

    http://www.deltacostproject.org

    http://www.tcs-online.org


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