The marginal costs of instruction

Research paper by Stephen A. Hoenack, William C. Weiler, Rebecca D. Goodman, Daniel J. Pierro

Indexed on: 01 Dec '86Published on: 01 Dec '86Published in: Research in higher education


This is a study of the costs of instruction in a large public research university. It departs from other work on instructional costs in its attempt to draw inferences about the economic costs of incremental or “marginal” enrollments. Focusing on graduate education, we examine how the costs directly facing faculty differ from those incurred by the institution's administration and legislature as reflected in the budgetary rewards for instruction. These cost differences provide the wherewithal for a university to carry out basic research and other important functions that lack a paying clientele. The study also explores the roles of economic costs in the institution's pricing of graduate education.