Date of Conferral
Aridaman K. Jain
Since 2011, drastic declines in tuition revenue for many rural community colleges have hindered institutional budgets and have been the primary driver for the financial strategy decisions made by college leaders. Recent declines in revenue for rural community colleges have created a constrained fiscal environment causing college leaders to increase focus on internal operations. The aim of this research was to expand the understanding of how management decisions influence tuition revenue when demand fluctuates. Data from multiple archival sources including several national and state statistical databases were used. This study used a multiple regression analysis to investigate the relationships between tuition revenue and (a) tuition rate setting strategy, (b) the management of institutional funds, (c) local economic conditions, and (d) age demographics. It was found that tuition rate setting strategy had the largest influence on tuition revenue among the internally controlled factors. Age demographics and economic conditions were found to be significant external factors that influence the tuition revenue at rural community colleges. This study promotes positive social change by providing financial leaders at community colleges greater insight into budgeting strategies that may help protect the financial viability of rural community colleges. The financial strength of community colleges is important for positive social change in rural communities because it assures that these institutions can continue to offer and expand solutions that meet the educational needs of the local communities they serve at a price affordable by all.