Associate Professor - Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Dr. Tammy Kolbe is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont. Her research focuses on the resources and costs associated with effectively implementing policies and programs in PK-16 educational organizations, and how educational resources can be distributed to promote goals for ensuring equal educational opportunities for all students. She frequently works with state and local education agencies on issues related to education funding and costs, particularly with respect to special education programs for students with disabilities and higher education funding models.

Currently, she is the co-director for the National Consortium for Research on Special Education Funding and Costs (SEF) and serves as senior associate editor of the American Journal of Education and as a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Education Finance. She was recently added a Fellow at the National Education Policy Center. Previously, she served as chair of the American Education Research Association’s (AERA) finance, economics and policy group. In 2019, she received the AERA’s award for Outstanding Policy Report for her work on special education costs and funding reform.



From Mission to Market: Strategic Finance in Higher Education (with R. Staisloff & M. Anguiano, Johns Hopkins Press; Forthcoming).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Kolbe, T., Baker, B.D., Atchison, D., Levin, J, & Harris, P. (Forthcoming). The Additional Cost of Operating Rural Schools: Evidence from Vermont. AERA Open.

Doutre, S., Kolbe, T., & Willis, J. (2020, September). Three Actions LEAs Can Take Now to Meet IDEA Maintenance of Effort During and Following the COVID-19 Pandemic. School Business Affairs.

Kolbe, T., Steele, C., White, B. (2020). Time to teach: Instructional time and science teachers’ use of inquiry-oriented instructional practices. Teachers College Record, 122(12).

Kolbe, T. & Baker, B. (2019) Fiscal Equity and America’s Community Colleges, The Journal of Higher Education, 90:1, 111-149 (doi: 10.1080/00221546.2018.1442984).

Kolbe, T., Kinsley, P., Feldman, RC & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2018) From the (Academic) middle to the top: an evaluation of the AVID/TOPS college access program, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 23:4, 304-335 (doi: 10.1080/10824669.2018.1530114).

Kolbe, T. & Jorgenson, S. (2018).) Meeting the demand of new standards for middle-level science: Which teachers are best prepared? Elementary School Journal,118(4), 549-577 (doi:10.1086/697540).

Kolbe, T. & O’Reilly, F. (2016). Expanded learning time in public schools: A cost effectiveness analysis of Massachusetts’ Expanded Learning Time Initiative. Leadership & Policy in Schools. (doi: 10.1080/15700763.2016.1232832).

Goldrick-Rab, S. & Kolbe, T. (2016). A matter of trust: Applying insights from social psychology to make college affordable. Policy Insights from the Behavioral & Brain Sciences. (doi: 10.1177/2372732216656457).

Natkin, L. & Kolbe, T. (2016). Enhancing sustainability curriculum through faculty learning communities. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 16(4), 540-558. (doi:10.1108/IJSHE-02-2015-0024).

Kolbe, T. & Strunk, K. (2012). Economic incentives as a strategy for responding to teacher staffing problems: An organizational typology.” Educational Administration Quarterly, 48(5), 779-813. (doi:10.1177/0013161X12441011).

Kolbe, T. & Rice, J. (2012). And they’re off: Tracking federal Race To The Top investments from the starting gate.” Educational Policy, 26(1), 185-209. (doi:10.1177/0895904811428975).

Book Chapters (Selected)

Kolbe, T. (Forthcoming). Crafting coherence: (Re)Considering state policymaking for funding special education. Journal of Special Education Leadership.

Kolbe, T. (Forthcoming). Confronting complexity: Special education policy & funding. In L. Cohen-Vogel, J. Scott, & P. Youngs, (Eds). Handbook of Education Policy Research. Washington DC: American Education Research Association.

Kolbe, T. & Dhuey, B. (Forthcoming). Public Funding for Special Education: Aligning School Finance with Policy Priorities for Students with Disabilities. In T. Downes & K. Killeen, (Eds). Recent Advancements in Education Finance and Policy.

Baker, B., Kolbe, T. & Levin, J. (In press). Toward equitable and adequate public financing of community colleges: Lessons from K-12 schooling. In J. Rice & C. Roellke, (Ed.) Fiscal Issues in Higher Education. Information Age Publishing.

Kolbe, T. & Kelchen, R. (In press). Aligning Questions with Data: A Critical Review of the IPEDS Finance Survey. In J. Rice & C. Roellke, (Ed.) Fiscal Issues in Higher Education. Information Age Publishing.

Kolbe, T., Shepherd, K. & Sessions, J.* (2018). Moving beyond academic achievement: Using non-academic data to identify and support struggling students. In H. R. Fives, & N. Barnes (Eds.), Cases of Teachers’ Data Use. New York: Routledge.

Monaghan, D., Kolbe, T., & Goldrick-Rab, S. (2018). Improving outcomes at community colleges: Experimental evidence on interventions. In B. Schneider (Ed.), Handbook of the Sociology of Education in the 21st Century. New York: Springer International Publishing.

Policy Briefs (Selected)

Doutre, S. & Kolbe, T. (2020, July). Special education funding: Critical moves to maintain and bolster performance. National Conference for State Legislators.

Kolbe, T. (2019, June). Confronting complexity and crafting coherence: Charting a path forward for funding special education. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center.

Kolbe, T., & Kelchen, R. (2017). Identifying new metrics using IPEDS data. Washington DC: National Postsecondary Education Cooperative, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics. (

Popular Press Articles and Mentions (Selected)

Kolbe, T. (August 6, 2020.) “Moving to offense: A new playbook for confronting budget shortfalls.” Inside Higher Education. (Retrieved at:’s-looming-budget-shortfalls-opinion)

Top of Mind with Julie Rose, Brigham Young Public Radio. (July 19, 2018). “The science of good science teachers.”

Education Week. (July 12, 2018). Iasevoli, B. “Science degree holders more likely to use inquiry-based teaching. But there aren’t enough of them.”

Goldrick-Rab, S. & Kolbe, T. (September 28, 2015.) “Rethinking state support for higher education.” Inside Higher Education. (Retrieved at:

Awards and Recognition

American Education Research Association, Division L Outstanding Policy Report (Long) Award (2019)

Finalist, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s 2017 Campus Sustainability Research Award (2017; nominated for outstanding paper published in International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education)

Provost Teaching Commendation, Florida State University 

Post-doctoral Fellowship, competitively awarded by the American Educational Research Association and U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences

Associations and Affiliations

Senior Associate Editor of the American Journal of Education

Fellow at the National Education Policy Center

Co-Director of National Consortium for Special Education Costs and Funding

Cost Analysis Standards Project, American Institutes for Research (2020)

Workgroup on Adequacy in Community College Funding, The Century Foundation (2017- 2019)

Tammy Kolbe

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Educational finance
  • Educational policy
  • Higher education
  • Special education


  • Ed.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from University of Vermont
  • M.S. in Policy Analysis & Evaluation from The Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A. in Political Science/Public Policy from Kalamazoo College


  • 802-656-0174
Office Location:

Waterman 499B

Courses Taught

Applied Data Analysis for Decision Making; Economics of Education; Family & Child Policy ; Policy to Practice: ; Program Evaluation & Assessment; Reading & Understanding Educational Research; Seminar on Education Policy