Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

August 1999


The purpose of this study was to determine how public two-year colleges in Tennessee internally budgeted and expended their unrestricted educational and general (E&G) funds from fiscal years 1988-89 through 1997-98. The primary focus was on the 14 Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) community colleges and the internal allocation of expenditures by function from 1988-89 through 1997-98. A limited functional expenditure comparison was made with data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers' (NACUBO) comparative financial analysis for fiscal years 1993-94 and 1994-95 as well as with the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) survey for the 1996-97 fiscal year. The study examined whether the TBR community colleges were apportioning a larger percentage of their budgets for direct instruction and less for administrative support services in 1997-98 versus 1988-89. The analysis also examined staffing patterns relative to FTE enrollment, changes in revenue patterns for the four major sources of unrestricted E&G funds, and tuition increases. A portion of the analysis included comparisons between current and constant dollars to measure the real gain or loss in financial resources after allowing for inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). A primary research question underlying this study sought to determine if the public two-year colleges in Tennessee were operating more efficiently at the end of the research period regarding the internal allocation of budgeted funds. It was assumed that efficiency could be measured in terms of an increase in the percentage allocation of funds to direct instruction and a decrease in the percentage allocated to institutional support for general administration. In spite of a reduction in the share of state appropriations provided to higher education during the past decade, the TBR community colleges apportioned a larger percentage of their budgets for instructional cost in 1997-98 than in 1988-89. Conversely, these colleges expended a smaller portion of their budgets for administration at the end of the ten-year period. In conclusion to this study, recommendations are made to more effectively inform public policymakers and the general public as to the efficiency of Tennessee's public community colleges regarding the allocation of financial resources. Comparisons with national and Southern Regional Education Board data are also desirable. Public policymakers are encouraged to more critically examine the long-range benefits of an educated population and the forecast for technical skills required of the workforce in the 21st century.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access