Date of Award
Thesis and Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration
James C. Palmer
Using readily available data, this study estimated the costs incurred by an Illinois public university to deliver a bachelor’s degree. Building on previous scholarship, the study used the transcript (based on the graduate’s path to the degree) and catalog (based on the major’s requirements listed in the university catalog) approaches to estimate costs, from three administrative purviews, for native and transfer students graduating from six different academic areas in fiscal 2015. Costs per credit hour were gathered from data prepared annually by the university for the state’s board of higher education.
A primary finding of this study was that costs vary across and within degrees. The principal driver of cost variation within degrees was student choice, regardless of whether the students were native or transfer. Based on the findings, as universities develop completion costs in response to concerns that they need to lower costs (to the state and students) and also produce more graduates, how does a campus find the balance between student choice and institutional direction? Ultimately, the ability of whether student choice should be limited is a decision for university administration. The decision of how to limit student choice rests with the department and its success will depend upon the department’s culture and its willingness to change.
Pitcock, Melissa R., "Answering The “more And Cheaper” Push Of The Completion Agenda: What Does It Cost An Illinois Public University To Deliver A Bachelor’s Degree?" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 1173.