Document Type

Department Honors Thesis

Publication Date


First Advisor

Justin Svec


This thesis examines the recent rise in tuition expenses and its relation to college operation costs. My focus delves into the finances of American institutions of higher education to observe where money is actually being spent and to which areas of the college money is being dispersed. It further examines whether students are actually stimulating their own tuition growth through their costly demands on colleges and the luxury services colleges are now offering. In particular, this paper analyzes the current-day trade off for American colleges: spending on consumption amenities as opposed to spending on academic quality. From my research and conclusions, it seems as though institutions of higher education are prioritizing development in different areas, apart from academic quality and instructional development, in order to suit the needs and desires of millennial college prospects.


This thesis was written for the Economics Department Honors program.

Presented at the 2018 Academic Conference.