Year of Publication

2017

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. J. S. Butler

Executive Summary

University tuition had increased in highly excess of the inflation rate from 1990s until 2008. Many people are wondering whether the quality of university education is proportional to the tuition level. Thus, this capstone project examines whether the quality measures in higher education can predict the tuition level.

After analyzing eight-year data of 146 private universities in South Korea, I get the result that university tuition is not a function of quality measures in terms of educational costs. However, tuition is a function of quality measures related with attractiveness, accomplishment, and satisfaction. Incoming student recruitment rate, and drop-out rate have significant impact on the tuition level at a 99 percent confidence level. Admission competition and research funding per faculty from internal sources also have statistically significant impact on the tuition level at a 95 percent confidence level.

Even though the tuition level has increased continuously, the rate of university entrance in terms of high school graduates also increased. The cost of college education impacts society broadly, especially under these circumstances. Thus, governmental intervention may be necessary. Actually, the Korean government has tried to stabilize the level of tuition since 2011. So this study also examines policy effectiveness and gets the result that tuition is reduced by the policy as intended.

Considering the result that the quality measures representing educational costs cannot predict the tuition level, universities should make an effort to relieve tuition burden by setting rational criteria of tuition level and reflecting all cost factors in this criteria. In the light of the result that tuition is a function of quality measures related with attractiveness, accomplishment, and satisfaction, government must be careful when it tries to regulate university tuition because there might be a possibility that the policy of tuition regulation would lead to deterioration in education quality.

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