Effects of Public Support for Higher Education on College Attainment

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Effects of Public Support for Higher Education on College Attainment

Project Lead

Philip A. Trostel (BIO)

Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Department of Economics and
Department of Economics and Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy
University of Maine
Affiliate, WISCAPE


Each year, federal, state, and local governments invest well over $100 billion in college education. Despite these significant expenditures (1 percent of national income), there is very little research quantifying its consequences. For instance, the effect of government support for higher education on college attainment (the earning of college degrees) has not been adequately quantified. This study attempts to fill the void.

Using state-level panel data from 1980 through 2006, researchers will estimate the size of the causal effect of state higher education spending on the number of people earning college degrees. This research will quantify the most important benefit of public investment in higher education.

Philip Trostel, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Maine and WISCAPE Faculty Affiliate, is the principal investigator for this project. He is assisted by WISCAPE Project Assistants Justin Ronca, Tora Frank, and Effendy Liejanto.


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