Higher Education Product Baskets: Degree Offering Distributions and the Financial Strength of Colleges and Universities

  • Patrick Stephen Matthew Nolan


This paper evaluates the relationship between the distributions of degrees offered by a college and the financial strength of that institution. While no causal relationship is established, the findings generally show that the more spe-cialized an institution is, the more net wealth it is likely to hold. Additional evidence points to how this effect differs de-pending on the degrees themselves: High concentrations of STEM fields, for example, tend to benefit the home college's financial position.This research highlights the importance of the considerations by which university systems balance the types of insti-tutions in their network. It adds to the small but growing research into higher education finance. Finally, it advocates for an understanding of public institutions as policy platforms. By paying attention to the implementers of public poli-cies, those policies might have more sustainable impacts.