Debates concerning the price of higher education are gaining magnitude on a national scale. Colleges now compete not only on the quality of instruction they provide, but also on various factors which market the educational experience as an “all-inclusive package” of consumption and investment attributes. The investment attributes, on one side, enable students to become qualified for a job in the future. The consumption attributes, on the other side, allow students to get involved in activities of interest outside the academic curriculum. This study argues that colleges, in spite of increased efforts to complement education with attractive factors of consumption, are still valued primarily for the investment benefits that they provide in the long-term. The study examines a cross-section of U.S. private institutions of higher education and uses hedonic models to analyze the relationship between institutional attributes and tuition. Results suggest that both investment and consumption attributes affect students’ willingness to pay for higher education; however, investment attributes have a larger overall impact.


Sell, John


Business Economics


Education Economics


institutional attributes, tuition, willingness to pay, hedonic models

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Ana Godonoga