- This study is an economic analysis of enrollment demand for
graduate education at Oregon State University as well as in the United
States. For the analysis of Oregon State University data on new
graduate enrollment, data were obtained for 27 academic departments
with 10 observations per department. The most important objective of
this study was to determine the reasons for variation in demand for
graduate education at Oregon State University and in the United States.
Monetary gains associated with graduate education and the quality of
the graduate program offered by the institution were hypothesized to
have a significant, positive effect on graduate enrollment demand. The
size of the tuition was hypothesized to be inversely related to the
number of new enrollments demanded. The level of admission requirements
was hypothesized to have a significant, negative effect on
graduate enrollment demand. It was also hypothesized that the demand
for graduate enrollment varies significantly among disciplines.
Along with a "size of tuition" variable, shown by other investigators
to be related to college enrollment, the institutional model
incorporated the monetary gains associated with graduate education,
minimum grade point average for admission and binary variables
representing the academic department variables hypothesized here also
to be associated with graduate enrollment demand.
From the estimated coefficients of the institutional model, it
was concluded that the demand for new graduate enrollment varies
significantly among most of the disciplines. Also, it was concluded
that, for Oregon State University, a proportional increase in the
graduate tuition level will be associated with a less than proportional
decrease in the number of enrollments demanded. The positive sign and
the statistical significance of the estimated coefficient associated
with the monetary gains variable support the human capital view of the
demand for graduate education.
For the national model only 12 observations on first year graduate
enrollment were available. The unemployment rate for master's and
doctoral degree holders and family income were hypothesized to have
negative and positive effects, respectively, on enrollment demand for
graduate education. For the ordinary least square estimation, the
Durbin-Watson test was inconclusive. A generalized least square
procedure was used to correct for the presence of a first order auto-regressive
error term structure. The results supported the hypothesis
of an inverse relationship between the unemployment rate and graduate
enrollment demand. Results with respect to the role of income,
however, were mixed.
An important implication of the institutional estimation is that,
for an institution faced with graduate enrollment ceilings, any attempt
by the administration to increase the grade point average for admission
will place additional pressure on that institution to live within the
enrollment ceilings. On the other hand, data limitations precluded
examining the possibility that, for some disciplines and for some
institutions, the demand-rationing aspect of the minimum grade point
average requirement will overwhelm the "quality of the program"
component. For such cases an increase in the grade point average
requirement may, in fact, reduce enrollment demand.
An important implication of the national estimation is that one
should be very cautious in recommending some kind of income enhancing
program as a vehicle for increasing the demand for graduate enrollment.
However, because it was not possible to measure the effect of direct
financial assistance on enrollment demand, one cannot infer that
increasing the availability of financial assistance for graduate study
would not increase the enrollment demand.