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Cost sharing in higher education: tuition, financial assistance and accessibility

Johnstone, Bruce


Recent years have seen a dramatic, albeit uneven and still contested, shift in the burden of higher education costs from being borne predominately by government, or taxpayers, to being shared with parents and students. 

In light of this shift, this paper explores five questions:

1. What are the theoretical and practical rationales for shifting some portion of the higher educational cost burden from governments and taxpayers to students and families?

2. What are the theoretical, political, ideological, practical, and/or strategic bases for resistance to this shift?

3. What is the impact of increasing cost burdens (mainly tuition and related fees) on student enrollment behavior—that is, enrollment, persistence to a degree, continuation to a higher degree, and the decision of where, or in what kind of higher educational institution to enroll?

4. What is the higher education cost (or more properly, the expenditure) burden currently being borne by the student and family in various countries, and what is the recent increase in these costs being borne by students and families, as opposed to governments or taxpayers?

5. What policy tools—e.g., need-based grants, loans, loan subsidies, very low or no tuition, subsidized lodging and food—are being employed to increase accessibility, and what is known of their efficacy?

Full text available as: Microsoft Word


Document Title: Cost sharing in higher education: tuition, financial assistance and accessibility

Document Type:Paper (Not Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Finance and Physical Resources
Country:African Continent
Relationship:Pre-print submitted to Czech Sociological Review

File Size:224 KB
Date Added:30 November 2006

Johnstone, Bruce (2003). Cost sharing in higher education: tuition, financial assistance and accessibility. International Comparative Higher Education Finance and Accessibility Project, Graduate School of Education, University of Buffalo, SUNY