Delta Issue Briefs
Delta Data Updates, 2000-2010
Spending, Subsidies, and Tuition: Why Are Prices Going Up? What Are Tuitions Going to Pay For? (PDF)
Delta Cost Project Data
The Delta Cost Project makes data available in a number of different formats. The database that AIR uses to analyze trends and to produce reports and briefs can be accessed from the National Center for Education Statistics at http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/deltacostproject/.
In addition, AIR, along with Xcalibur, provides an interactive web-based data system that gives higher education stakeholders easy access to information on finance, performance, and enrollments for individual institutions, groups of institutions, or the nation. This can be accessed at http://www.tcs-online.org/Home.aspx.
Developing data and policy tools to improve productivity and public
accountability for performance in postsecondary education.
The Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research
The Delta Cost Project’s focus on college spending fills a much needed gap in discussions of college affordability. For years, trends in tuition, financial aid and state appropriations have informed policy makers about important aspects of college affordability, but no one was paying attention to how colleges and universities spend money. The work of the Delta Cost Project, led by Rita Kirshstein at the American Institutes for Research, is animated by the belief that college spending can be contained without sacrificing access or educational quality and better use of data can inform strategic decision making.
AIR took over the analytic work of the Delta Cost Project in January 2012. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is maintaining the Delta Cost Project’s database as part of its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). IPEDS conducts annual surveys gathering information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.
About Rita Kirshstein, Ph.D.
The Delta Cost Project at AIR is led by Rita Kirshstein, a managing director with more than 25 years of experience analyzing higher education finance. Her experience spans from projects exploring the trends in tuition and institutional costs in the 1980s to providing support to the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education in the late 1990s to her current work with the Delta Cost Project. She has advised the project since its inception, contributing to the annual trends reports (e.g., Trends in College Spending: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go? What Does It Buy?), refining cost metrics, and informing the project’s research priorities.
In addition, Rita has led research on financial aid, including studying the financial aid programs for the Maryland Higher Education Commission and authoring a study of loan forgiveness programs, Workforce Contingent Financial Aid: How States Link Financial Aid to Employment.
She advises the evaluation of several National Science Foundation initiatives designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Rita is a member of the Board of Directors of College Bound, a former trustee of the University of the District of Columbia, and an adjunct professor of sociology at George Washington University where she teaches the sociology of higher education.
AIR’s expertise in finance extends from postsecondary to K-12 and early childhood education. Our staff analyze school finance policy; conduct large-scale studies of resource allocation in education at the federal, state, and local levels; provide expert testimony in school finance litigation cases; and conduct studies of teacher labor markets.
AIR is a partner in Strategic School Funding for Results, a project with two large California K-12 school districts to increase resource equity and transparency. AIR developed the budgeting system currently used by Twin Rivers Unified School District and Los Angeles Unified School District that enables the districts to better distribute funding to their schools based on the needs of students.
AIR is committed to providing objective information to inform public policy discussions. In 2011, AIR hosted a series of forums with Education Week on Capitol Hill examining four key issues shaping the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the future direction of federal education policy. The forums--focusing on measuring teacher effectiveness, accountability provisions, turnaround for chronically low-performing schools, and educating students with disabilities--drew more than 200 policymakers. Previous AIR symposiums include “Changing the Odds: Informing Policy With Research on How Adult Learners Succeed” and “Using RTI to Improve Achievement for English Language Learners.”
Established in 1946, AIR is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts and applies behavioral and social science research both domestically and internationally in the areas of education, health, and workforce productivity.