DATE: August 30, 2017
AUTHOR: Aaron Fernandes
Most national reports and white papers related to postsecondary finance depend on a few key primary sources. The right one to use depends on the question a researcher/analyst is trying to answer. Some sources have detailed information by institution or state, but little data on different types of students. Some are the other way around. Following are examples of postsecondary finance questions with links to more information about the publicly available primary source or sources most appropriate to answer them.
Where does an institution or group of institutions get most of its revenue? How much does an institution or group depend on tuition / auxiliares / appropriations / grants / investment or other revenue?
How do states compare in overall spending on higher education over time?
What are institutions’ sticker prices?
How much do institutions charge in tuition compared to fees?
How do institutions’ prices vary by course load (e.g. flat rate, “linear” , or hybrid)?
How much does an institution’s federal research funding come from particular disciplines/agencies?
What types of research and support programs at postsecondary institutions does the U.S. Department of Education fund?
Overall, how do students finance postsecondary education (total cost, income, savings, financial aid, etc.)?
What states and institutions have the most Pell recipients/dollars?
What are the characteristics of Pell grant recipients?
What states/institutions have the most federal direct loan students/dollars?
What are the characteristics of student borrowers?
What states/institutions have the most students/dollars receiving veterans’/GI benefits?
How much have students/families in different states saved through 529 plans?
How much are students working/earning while enrolled?
How much are students receiving from parents/family/friends/federal programs
How much state student aid is need-based vs. merit-based?
How much do different types of students receive in need- or merit-based aid?
How much do institutions discount their sticker prices?
How much do students/families in different states or at different income levels benefit from federal income tax provisions?
How do different states subsidize postsecondary education through their tax code?
How big is a state’s higher education investment relative to its other spending?
How big is a local government’s higher education investment relative to its other spending?
How big are states’/institutions’ budgets relative to enrollments of different types of students?
How big are states’ budgets relative to their college-age populations?
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