Former HGSE Course Descriptions

A709: The Economics of Colleges and Universities
This course examines the critical trends and funding issues facing these institutions. We explore how price, cost, and value shape what is provided and who goes to college. Topics include college revenue sources and expenditures, the many roles of financial aid, the controversies behind admission policies, the impact of ranking systems and growing competition, and the debate about higher education accountability. By focusing on these issues from the perspective of colleges and universities, the course examines the “supply side” of higher education.

A713: The Role of Policy in College Access and Success
In this course, we study the role of policy and programs in promoting college enrollment and success to understand the major initiatives that exist, the impact they have had on postsecondary attendance and graduation, and the ways reform might improve their effectiveness. We explore the critical trends and issues related to student enrollment, performance, and completion in higher education and examine how policy affects these patterns.

A205: Microeconomics – A Tool for Educators
Microeconomics – A Tool for Educators is designed to equip students with the ability to analyze education policies and their consequences using the framework of microeconomics. How can we attract good teachers to public schools? How do different types of government grant programs affect local school spending? What are the effects of policies that subsidize the cost of postsecondary education? A variety of questions will be addressed using the tools of microeconomics. Examples are drawn from multiple countries and include preschool to adult education. The primary goal of this course is to teach you how to use microeconomics in analyzing a wide range of educational policy issues.

A331: Student Achievement – The Role of Resources and Governance
This course reviews the quantitative research on the role of resources and governance on student achievement. We will investigate the relationship between expenditures and performance and evaluate the effectiveness of educational reforms designed to improve student success. The course is broken into three parts. During the first several weeks, we will study how resources are distributed among schools and analyze the impact of reforms aimed at equalizing funding. Then, the focus of the course will shift to the long-standing question, “does money matter?” We will consider whether particular uses of resources affect student success. Topics include teacher quality and certification, class size, educational standards, and reforms linking resources with accountability. The last part of the course will consider how school governance and choice affects outcomes. The impact of private schools, voucher programs, and charter schools will all be examined.