College-choice behavior in the New Church

Charles W Lindsay, University of Pennsylvania


Rapid cost increases have forced many church-related colleges to increase tuition charges beyond what their traditional clientele is willing to pay. Chartered in 1877, The Academy of the New Church College (ANCC) in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, is under the control of the General Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian). Admission is limited to those who have been baptized into the Church or who have expressed an interest in the Church's teachings. The dissertation examined the impact of a price increase on the choice behavior of students accepted by ANCC. To what degree is the probability of attending the College a function of price? A sample of 224 students graduating from U.S. and Canadian high schools between 1980 and 1990 were included in the study. A binomial logit procedure was used to estimate the influence of price on the probability of enrolling at ANCC. The results indicate that an economic model of student-choice behavior was not well suited to the data; price considerations do not appear to influence the decision to attend the College. Lower-income students considering public college alternatives are more likely to attend ANCC as the selectivity of the colleges in their choice sets rises. Alternatively, higher-income students considering private colleges are less likely to choose ANCC as the selectivity of the alternatives in their choice sets rises. The greater the number of years a student spends attending New Church elementary and high schools, the less likely that student is to enroll in the College. Parents who are alumni of the institution are less likely to have a son or daughter attend ANCC. These findings have important implications for pricing policy at the College. The fact that student-choice behavior is unrelated to price within a specified range indicates that a marginal price increase could be introduced without experiencing a significant enrollment decline. Finally, because of the unique nature of the Church and its clientele, the results of this study have limited application to other religious groups and organizations.

Subject Area

Higher education|Religious education

Recommended Citation

Lindsay, Charles W, "College-choice behavior in the New Church" (1992). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9308617.