Relative success? Determinants of college graduation rates in public and private colleges in the U.S.

Marc Scott, Thomas Bailey, Greg Kienzl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Amid growing criticism of public universities, there is little discussion of what appropriate institutional evaluation would entail. Six-year graduation rates are commonly used, and public bachelors granting institutions have lower rates than private institutions, but with the growth in non-traditional college attendance, these can be misleading. We develop a regression analysis as a way to evaluate institutions serving vastly different populations. We do this with a dataset constructed from publicly available sources and focus on the evaluation of public colleges. We show that public colleges are able to do more with less: our models suggest that with equivalent resources and student populations, public schools would graduate a slightly larger percentage of students than privates. Since financial resources come from very different sources, we evaluate this finding closely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-279
Number of pages31
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2006

Keywords

  • College performance
  • Educational economics
  • Efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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