Funding Campus Sustainability through a Green Fee—Estimating Students’ Willingness to Pay

González-Ramírez J, Cheng H, Arral S. (2021). “Funding Campus Sustainability through a Green Fee—Estimating Students’ Willingness to Pay.” Sustainability. 13(5), 2528. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052528

Abstract: Many higher education institutions promote sustainability by instilling environmental awareness within college students, the innovators of the future. As higher education institutions face budgetary constraints to achieve greener campuses, green fees have emerged as an alternative method for universities to encourage student participation and overall campus sustainability. A green fee is a mandatory student fee that funds sustainability projects on campus and is typically managed by a group of students and faculty. We are the first to assess students’ support for a mandatory green using a single dichotomous choice, contingent valuation question and estimating the willingness to pay to fund campus sustainability using a discrete choice model. Using results from a survey at a private college in New York City, we found more support for $5 and $10 green fee values. Using both parametric and non-parametric estimation methods, we found that mean and median willingness-to-pay values were between $13 and $15 and between $10 and $18, respectively. We suggest implementing a green fee between $10 and $13 following the lower values of the non-parametric median willingness to pay (WTP) range estimates that do not rely on distributional assumptions. We hope that other academic institutions follow our research steps to assess the support for a green fee and to suggest a green fee value for their institutions

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