Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



Colleges and universities compete for financial resources with societal needs such as defense, transportation, health, welfare, and recreation. Any expenditure for education has an alternative use in some other activity. Both education and the alternative activity would produce financial and non-financial benefits. Comparison of the non-financial benefits must almost always be subjective. The purpose of this study is to make possible an objective comparison of the financial benefits. Empirical estimates of the financial benefits are available expenditures in most activities; however, no estimates of the financial benefits are available for specific investments in education. The decision maker is forced to determine a subjective estimate of the financial return to an educational investment before a comparison can be made. The model presented here is intended to fill one portion of is informational gap by providing a method to determine an estimate of the financial return from an investment in undergraduate education at a specific institution. It must be emphasized that this study does not intend to imply that the comparison of financial benefits should necessarily be the dominant factor in investment decisions of societal needs. However, comparison of financial benefits is one factor that should be considered in all decisions concerning alternative investments, and the purpose of this study is to make this comparison possible by providing methods to produce financial information about specific educational investments.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Education, Higher -- Economic aspects



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University