Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership

First Advisor

Randy Parker

Abstract

Public higher education institutions have increased the practice of tuition discounting, which is the planned use of institutional provided financial aid to offset a portion of the tuition and fee price that students pay. As the cost of higher education has increased and the competition for students has increased, the use of tuition discounting as an enrollment management tool has also increased. The primary reason for the increase in the cost in public higher education, since the 2008 recession, is the funding cuts from state governments. The cuts in state funding have placed more pressure on public institutions to improve their efforts in recruiting and retaining students in order to offset the loss in funding from the state cuts. As the tuition discounting practice has increased, there are financial factors and consequences that must be addressed. The purpose of this research was to explore the relationship between four-year public institutions' financial positions and the tuition discount rates awarded to their students. The Financial Vulnerability Index (FVI) and its five component ratios served as a representation for institutional financial position. Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS) provided the financial and institutional data for the academic years of 2006-07 and 2013-14. The analytical strategy of this study included both descriptive and inferential statistics. A two-stage hierarchical multiple regression was calculated to assess what extent the financial position of a public institution, as determined by the FVI, influences the tuition discount rate. The findings indicated a statistically significant change for the public institutions in the study over the two years for: a) the tuition discount rate offered to students, b) the total tuition and fees charged to students, c) the diversification of the enrollment, and d) the percentage of students receiving federal financial aid. Also, the findings indicated for the public institutions in 2006-07 that are considered to be in a stable financial position, that as these institutions have become financially stable, they have been able to provide more tuition discounts for their students.

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