Investing in the Economics of Education

KENNESAW, Ga. | Sep 26, 2018

Coles College center receives $2.81 million donation

Ben Scafidi
Ben Scafidi

Kennesaw State University has received two grants totaling $2.81 million for its Education Economics Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business.

The Education Economics Center explores education taxes, expenditures and resulting outcomes, while conducting research on topics such as teacher labor markets, public school staffing, school choice, charter schools, access to Advanced Placement courses, and voter attitudes.

“We appreciate the generosity of our donors who continue to demonstrate their enduring commitment to supporting worthwhile education and research at Kennesaw State University,” said Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business. “Their contributions will help empower the Education Economics Center to continue exploring innovative, data-driven solutions to challenges faced by students and educators across the country.”

Center director and professor of economics Ben Scafidi began the center and has served as its director since joining the KSU faculty in 2014. His research in academia and education policy has been cited more than 1,400 times according to Google Scholar, and he frequently presents his research at national and international academic and policy conferences. Scafidi worked on education policy for two Georgia governors and he frequently is asked to provide technical assistance to state-level policymakers across the nation on issues pertaining to the economics of education.

“The Education Economics Center’s purpose is to produce academic and policy research and to provide technical assistance in informing researchers, education policymakers, educators and the general public about the most effective ways to improve educational opportunities for students,” Scafidi said. “This very generous gift will allow the center to significantly expand our efforts to address real-world education challenges through the exchange of diverse ideas.”

Contributions of $2 million from longtime KSU donors Tommy and Chantal Bagwell and $810,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation will support the center, which is housed in the Coles College’s Department of Economics, Finance and Quantitative Analysis.

The Bagwell family has a long history of philanthropy and service to Kennesaw State University, beginning in 1996 when Clarice Bagwell — Tommy Bagwell’s mother — gave a generous gift to name the Leland and Clarice C. Bagwell College of Education. The Bagwells have given millions of dollars to Kennesaw State over the past two decades, including a $2.25 million contribution last year to establish the Bagwell Center for the Study of Markets and Economic Opportunity in the Coles College, which was combined with $1 million contribution from the Charles Koch Foundation.

The Charles Koch Foundation supports students and scholars through academic grants and educational initiatives at more than 300 institutions and colleges around the country.

– Paul Floeckher

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