Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




John R. Thelin


The purpose of this study is to analyze the income and expenditure patterns at three Liberal Arts I colleges in the Midwest from 1979-89. It combines from hard data from HEGIS/IPEDS financial reports and interviews with campus administrators to examine the effects the 1980s had on the institutions and makes a judgment about the financial condition of each college as they entered the 1990s. The study also examines state, local, and federal policies and presents the administrators' policy views about solutions to help ensure a financially strong sector of liberal arts colleges. It was concluded that the financial condition of each college varied but all were experiencing financial stress to some degree. The colleges did not approach the challenges of the 1980s with retrenchment strategies. Each college showed dramatic increases in E&G spending well beyond the inflation rate. Most of the spending increases were devoted to promoting and managing the institutions as well as to student services, student financial aid and attracting philanthropic dollars. This negatively influenced the percentage of total expenditures devoted to educational programs. While most income sources increased, the majority of the revenue for the rapid expenditure increase was fueled by tuition increases that were also far beyond the inflation rate. None of the colleges studied strayed from their primary mission of providing a liberal arts education to traditional students in a residential setting to meet enrollment goals.



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