Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Student Services Investment Matters
A new study finds student graduation rates at four-year universities increase with higher investment in student support services. Conducted by a graduate student in economics, Douglas Webber, and Ronald Ehrenberg, director of Cornell's University's Higher Education Institute, the study uses data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). These data were released to the Delta Cost Project, an effort to study rising tuition costs in higher education. One finding that the authors call "disturbing" is that higher expenditures in research correlate with lower graduation rates. The report also finds that spending more on student services, even if that involves spending less on instruction, improves graduation rates. The authors caution that these data require deeper analysis to inform institutional policy, but the findings are thought-provoking.