The response of undergraduate credit hour loads to the SUNY tuition increase of fall 2003 and the effects of financial aid programs on the credit hour response at the University at Buffalo
Mazioglu, Halime Handan
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In recent years, in the public institutions of higher education the share of total costs covered by public appropriations has declined, while the share covered by tuition and fees has increased. High individual pay-offs from college education together with the states' budgetary crises led to a pattern nationwide towards shifting the burden of higher education costs from public to private sources. NY State experienced a similar outcome too. State appropriations for SUNY declined over the last decades with the largest cut occurring in year 2003. As a response undergraduate tuition rates in all of the four year colleges and universities included in the SUNY system were increased by 28 percent in the academic year 2003-04. This study is concerned with the credit hour load consequences of the SUNY 2003 tuition increase with an emphasis on the effects of financial aid programs on the credit hour loads among matriculated undergraduate students at the University at Buffalo. This study uses to a great extent the two theories in economics, the demand and the human capital theories, as conceptual foundations. Particular emphasis is given to the workings of the demand theory on private versus public goods in order to assess where the education can be placed while exploring the demand for credit hours in the face of tuition cost rise. The results of this study show that financial aid programs helped undergraduate students, particularly those students from lower income families, to maintain their credit hour loads despite the tuition increase.