Date of Award

Winter 12-16-2017

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Economics and Finance

First Advisor

David Finnoff


This research paper is a macroeconomic analysis of the US higher education system with a financial twist to it. It begins by stating the problem with the US higher education system: tuition costs are high, public funding is decreasing, and therefore student debt numbers are almost unrecoverable. Next, it analyzes options for an 18-year old high school graduate toward attending (or not attending) college as a financial investment by using net present value calculations. These numbers help to shed further light on the aforementioned problem, and the paper closes with a proposed policy on how the US government already spends (toward higher education) the funds needed to pay for tuition for all in-state students, even with enrollment increases over 300%.