An Examination of Efficiency in Historically Black Colleges and Universities



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The purpose of this series of studies was to understand a natural occurrence of efficiency in higher education: Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCUs are institutions founded prior to 1964 with missions to provide educational options to Black students (Allen, 1992). Despite never receiving funding equal to that of their peers, the high production of educational outcomes with few resources exemplifies the definition of technical efficiency (Farrell, 1957). This series of studies sought to aid in improving efficient production by understanding the higher education funding policy providing resources to HBCUs, the degree of efficient operations of HBCUs, and the relationships between expenditures and student outcomes at HBCUs. Qualitative analysis of the higher education policy providing resources to public institutions of higher education in states operating HBCUs yielded two common policy themes: 1) states set expectations of higher education with workforce development goals, and 2) HBCU-specific language is largely absent from state higher education funding policy. Data envelopment analysis determined that relative efficiency scores skewed toward efficiency and efficiency was found among HBCUs of all sizes. Ordinary least squares regression models were developed to understand the relationships between resource allocation and student outcomes. A model for graduation rates found the percentage of Pell grant recipients and Public Service expenditures to be positively and significantly related to graduation rates, suggesting high levels of support for students and their families. This series of studies found HBCUs to be a promising area of future research to improve the efficient outcomes of higher education. Further, previous assertions of discriminatory funding policies were confirmed and should be rectified in order for HBCUs to reach the full potential of their contribution to higher education. The future of efficiency in higher education can be led by Historically Black Colleges and Universities.



Education, Finance, Historically black colleges and universities, Efficiency