Date of Award


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Administration


Arturo Olivarez


The ever-increasing costs and debt incurred by US college students is a hotly contested issue. In March 2022, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) released a refreshed strategic plan for the stateâ??s higher education: Building a Talent Strong Texas. The refreshed plan concentrated on access for minority populations, enhanced student completion goals, and expanded the focus on reducing student debt. Texas set out to lead the nation in the least college student debt reported. One of the least examined or understood college costs is student mandatory fees (Arnott, 2012; Black & Taylor, 2018; Kelchen, 2016; Reinagel & Cooper, 2020). This study sought to examine the rising costs associated with student mandatory fees at four-year public institutions in Texas. The quantitative study used six years of publicly available national panel data to determine a) by what magnitude required fees were increasing, b) whether fees were becoming an increasing proportion of the price of attendance (PoA) for in-state and out-of-state students living off campus without family, and c) to examine the relationship between student fees and institutional fall-to-fall retention rates. Findings included a $488 mean average increase (20%) in-state fees and $591 mean average increase (24%) out-of-state fees at public, four-institutions in Texas (n=32). Despite increases over the six years, fees did not represent a greater proportion of the price of attendance reported. The study also found that rate term for both in-state and out-of-state fees did explain statistically significant variance in institutional student retention rates, but upon further examination no specific variables in the proposed models were significant. Institutional variability did account for over 90% of variance in the proposed model which has implications for the THECB to intervene around institutional flexibility in determining student fees as a component of higher education costs.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

169 p.

File Format


Rights Holder

Charles Matthew Crouse