Direct departmental costs as they relate to departmental outcomes at selected schools of allied health

Jennifer Anne Giancola, University of Pennsylvania


Public concern over university costs has never been higher, but answers to questions of “what makes costs go up?” remain unsatisfactory. This research uses economic cost function analysis to examine longitudinal total departmental direct costs at eight graduate schools of Allied Health. Linear mixed-effects modeling analysis is used to examine the relationship between total departmental direct costs and departmental outcomes, defined as the number of courses offered. The design controls for student demand by including a weighted measure of departmental student majors (weighted for enrollment status and level). This study draws on five years of data on departmental personnel, students, and courses, which was collected as part of a cost benchmarking initiative for the national Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions. The results of this study are of interest to education cost researchers and economists, Allied Health educators, education policy makers, and anyone interested in the factors associated with rising educational costs. This analysis departs from traditional cost analysis in higher education, which typically uses student majors, degrees, or course credits as the measure of education outcomes. It further departs from traditional cost analysis by adopting the academic department as the producing unit (instead of the institution), and by examining multiple years of data (instead of just one). Models were fitted independently for four departments in allied health: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Health Information Management, and Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Models were also fitted using data for ail four departments. The results indicated that departmental course offerings are a strong predictor of total departmental costs, while departmental student majors are not a strong predictor of total departmental costs. This finding suggests that course offerings are an appropriate measure of departmental outputs in cost function analysis, while student majors are not.

Subject Area

Higher education|Economics|School finance

Recommended Citation

Giancola, Jennifer Anne, "Direct departmental costs as they relate to departmental outcomes at selected schools of allied health" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3095883.