Research in Higher Education

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 601–625

Market-Based Higher Education: Does Colorado’s Voucher Model Improve Higher Education Access and Efficiency?

  • Nicholas W. Hillman
  • David A. Tandberg
  • Jacob P. K. Gross

DOI: 10.1007/s11162-013-9326-3

Cite this article as:
Hillman, N.W., Tandberg, D.A. & Gross, J.P.K. Res High Educ (2014) 55: 601. doi:10.1007/s11162-013-9326-3


In 2004, Colorado introduced the nation’s first voucher model for financing public higher education. With state appropriations now allocated to students, rather than institutions, state officials expect this model to create cost efficiencies while also expanding college access. Using difference-in-difference regression analysis, we find limited evidence that these outcomes occurred within the 4-year sector; however, the policy increased cost efficiencies among community college and reduced college access for some underrepresented groups. The paper discusses the challenges of applying market-based reforms to public higher education.


Higher education finance State policy Market-based reforms 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas W. Hillman
    • 1
  • David A. Tandberg
    • 2
  • Jacob P. K. Gross
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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