BRYAN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS REQUEST FOR AN INCREASE IN DIFFERENTIAL TUITION FOR THE MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED ECONOMICS

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1 BRYAN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS REQUEST FOR AN INCREASE IN DIFFERENTIAL TUITION FOR THE MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED ECONOMICS 1. Executive Summary The Department of Economics at Joseph M. Bryan School of Business and Economics requests permission to increase the tuition for students in its Master of Arts in Applied Economics programs by $60 per student credit hour for courses at the 600 level, beginning in fall semester 2012, increasing to $120 per student credit hour in fall semester A significant portion of the revenue generated through the differential tuition will be used to provide financial aid to highly qualified MA students. The revenues will also be used to fund needed infrastructure for our MA graduate program which will, in turn, improve the recruitment and placement services of the department. Providing more appropriate funding for these activities will support the Department, the School, and the University by increasing the number and caliber of students enrolled in the graduate programs. We shall expand the communications network between the Economics Department at UNCG and the economics departments of other North Carolina colleges and universities. The additional funding may also be used for faculty and graduate student development and research and program and course development. Program Background The Master of Arts in Applied Economics is a three-semester, 33-credit-hour, full-time day program for students seeking a terminal professional degree in applied microeconomics and high-level statistical analysis. The program typically admits new students every fall semester. The curriculum is a very efficient, nearly lockstep program that focuses on highly marketable skills in economic model building and statistical analysis. The program has been very successful in meeting the employment needs of North Carolina businesses: Over eighty percent of graduating MAs receive offers within six months of graduation at salaries ranging from $55,000 to $79,000; half of those placements are in North Carolina. The program is highly selective, as the average GRE score of entering students has been 1234 over the last ten years. The Department screens all inquiries about the program carefully and does not encourage applications from prospects who do not meet our basic quantitative and economics benchmarks. Prospective students must demonstrate good performance in undergraduate courses in economic theory, calculus, and statistics. The Department has found that students who do not have appropriate mathematical and statistical training prior to entering the program are at a significant disadvantage, given the program s emphasis on econometrics and data analysis. MAE-DT-Proposal Page 1

2 Uses for the Revenues Generated through Differential The Department anticipates using the differential tuition funds increase the quality of its graduate students and the program visibility among employers and prospective students. These include: Financial support: The Department intends to use at least 25% of the revenues received through differential tuition to provide additional financial aid to highly qualified MA students. Fewer than half our entering MA students receive tuition assistance (in the form of in-state and out-of-state waivers) and fewer than 25% receive graduate assistantships or fellowship funding that is sufficient to fund their fees, books, and living expenses. Being able to offer increased financial aid awards to our best prospects will help make the program more competitive with those of other schools and will improve the chances our best students will be able to devote their time to studying and completing their degrees in a timely fashion. Recruitment: The MA program at UNCG is unusual in its emphasis on training for the non-academic market and its requirements of a strong quantitative background for admission. The MA in Applied Economics is considered unique; in the past, students from the other fifteen Academic Common Market states could have qualified to pay NC in-state tuition for the MA in Applied Economics because their home states did not have a comparable program. The program has historically had excellent placement rates and our graduates indicate a high degree of satisfaction with the training they received. However, the programs are not as well known among NC colleges and universities as they could be. We believe faculty at undergraduate institutions might not be aware of the curricular and placement difference between applied economics and traditional academic economics; thus, they might not be advising their graduating seniors who have appropriate quantitative skills about the unique opportunity training available to them at UNCG. Some of the funding derived from the differential tuition increase would support better recruitment efforts by department staff to create more awareness of the MA in Applied Economics program at NC colleges and universities. Career Counseling and Placement: While the Economics Department has been highly successful with its placement of graduating students, it does not employ outside resources for recruitment or job placement of its graduate students. Thus there is a need to expand our circle of potential employers and include more research institutions, government agencies, and other establishments that value applied research skills. Funding from differential tuition for this function would benefit graduates, who would have a wider range of employment opportunities to choose from, while enhancing awareness of the Department, the School, and the University in the business community and research institutions. MAE-DT-Proposal Page 2

3 Program development and support: 1) Providing students and faculty with support to attend and participate in offcampus professional and academic seminars and conferences that contribute to the enhancement of the curricular delivery of the program. 2) Development of curricular innovations in our programs including the purchase and incorporation of specialized statistical software and data products. 3) Strengthening ties with graduate alumni by supporting a web-based communication infrastructure and providing financing for on-campus alumni events. 4) Supporting development of courses and workshops in alternative forms to enhance accessibility. These include online activities that may focus on: a. Providing enhanced access to the four prerequisite undergraduate courses that prospective graduate students must complete to meet department admission standards b. Supporting an enhanced commitment to lifelong learning by offering online courses in data analytics to alumni of the program and other research professionals that are designed to update and enhance their technical skill set. 2. Trends in student enrollment Graduate Enrollment Trends* Economics Graduate Programs (MA & PhD combined) * UNCG Fact Book; department records. 3. history The Economics Department does not currently assess differential tuition for either of its graduate programs. MAE-DT-Proposal Page 3

4 4. Fee information There are no fees charged in addition to those charged by the University for all graduate students. 5. Peer comparison data regarding cost Below is a comparison of the tuition charged to students in graduate programs at our competitive schools and that charged to students enrolled in the graduate economics programs in the Bryan School. The data are based on the tuition for students enrolled full time for nine student credit hours. Table 1 for Selected Graduate Economics Programs Data from Fall 2011(*) UNC Charlotte, Belk College of Business UNCG, Bryan School East Carolina University, College of Arts & Sciences NC State University UNC Chapel Hill Arts & Sciences SOURCE: University websites (*) Assumes a 9 ch/semester load In-State & Out Of State & 1,844 3,599 5,443 7,613 3,599 11,212 1, ,699 8, ,812 1,778 1,008 2,786 7,175 1,008 8,183 2, ,917 9, ,941 3, ,322 11, ,166 MAE-DT-Proposal Page 4

5 Table 2 for Selected Graduate Economics Programs with Differential Based On Data from Fall 2011 (*,**) In-State & Out Of State & UNC Charlotte, Belk College of 1,844 3,599 5,443 7,613 3,599 11,212 Business UNCG, Bryan School with differential tuition 3, ,779 9, ,892 of $120/SCH East Carolina University, College 1,778 1,008 2,786 7,175 1,008 8,183 of Arts & Sciences NC State University 2, ,917 9, ,941 UNC Chapel Hill, Arts & Sciences 3, ,322 11, ,166 SOURCE: University websites (*) Assumes a 9 ch/semester load (**) Assumes that competing programs will not raise tuition or fees until According to the data displayed in the tuition tables above, current tuition for in-state students in economics graduate programs at UNCG is roughly equivalent to that at two other NC universities (UNC Charlotte and ECU), neither of which offers the doctorate in economics. The institutions that are most appropriate for comparison as peers are UNC Chapel Hill and NC State. at UNCG is currently considerably lower than the tuition charged by NC State and UNC Chapel Hill, both of which offer the doctorate in economics. Even with the new differential tuition, the UNCG program would remain competitive with NC State and UNC Chapel Hill. For out-of-state students, UNCG would remain the bargain it currently is even with the differential tuition, UNCG graduate work in economics would be virtually tied for the least expensive program. MAE-DT-Proposal Page 5

6 6. Any other information to support the need for a differential increase in tuition Current MA students have been consulted on this proposal. They recognize the benefits that would accrue to the Department from increased financial support for the projects described above, particularly in the area of support of career counseling and placement. Their consensus is that the cost of the tuition differential is more than offset by the benefits derived from the proposed use of funds and, therefore, they support this proposal. 7. Projected Revenues and Expenditures Differential (DT) Proposal for Economics Department Projected Revenues DT/SCH Assessed SCH per student Anticipated enrollment for entering MA classes Total SCH per year subject to DT Estimated Revenues $25,920 $29,160 $64,800 $75,600 $75,600 Projected Expenditures Student Scholarships $6,480 $7,290 $16,200 $18,900 $18,900 GA supporting graduate program $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 office Administrative director (DGS) $13,000 $13,000 $13,000 Supplies/Services $1,000 $1,000 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000 Professional Development & $5,000 $6,000 $14,900 $21,600 $21,600 Placement Services Recruitment & Networking (inc. $3,500 $4,000 $8,000 $10,000 $10,000 travel) Total $25,980 $28,290 $64,100 $75,500 $75,500 MAE-DT-Proposal Page 6

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