ABFM Doctoral Student Profile: Alex Combs

In preparation for ABFM’s upcoming conference in Denver, I am doing a series of profiles on the doctoral students on the job market.

Alex Combs (Martin School – University of Kentucky) is presenting “Are State Subsidies in Higher Education Driving a Divergence in Institutional Expenditures?” in the Saturday morning session on Higher Education Budgeting, Finance, and Performance. Here is the abstract of his paper:

The delivery of state subsidies in higher education has increasingly shifted from appropriations to grant aid over time. This study examines the effect of states’ subsidy composition across appropriations and various types of grants on expenditure shares across college budget categories. Of particular interest is whether expenditure shares respond in such a way that reflects a divergence between educational quality and amenities. Results indicate that an increase in the proportion of total state subsidies delivered via grant aid is associated with institutions trading educational resources for amenities or vice versa. This result depends on the type of grant that receives a greater share of state subsidies as well as the sector and selectivity of institution. Implications for state subsidy policy and the effect of grant aid on student outcomes are discussed in light of this new evidence.

Combs’ dissertation, chaired by Eugenia Toma and recently defended, is on “State Subsidy Composition in Higher Education: Policy and Impacts” and he has a paper on local responses to school finance equalization forthcoming in the Journal of Public Finance & Management. 

You can see Alex Combs’ profile with CV here.

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