Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair

Eric Platt

Committee Member

Colton Cochrum

Committee Member

Linn Stranak

Committee Member

Stephen Zanskas


ABSTRACTWith nearly 95 percent of West Tennesseans being employed yet those same rural 20 counties have one-fifth of their population living at poverty levels, nonprofit private schools face a challenge. Low unemployment and high levels of poverty indicate that many in rural West Tennessee are the working poor. Due to 23 percent of the residents being enrolled in TennCare, there is a greater indication that rural areas provide tremendous challenges to nonprofit private schools. With an aging, declining populace, and every county being more than 50 miles from an urban airport that transports passengers, industry becomes more difficult to recruit. Experiencing extremely high rates of single, unwed pregnancies, the regions economic challenges hinder nonprofit private school leadership in recruiting students from families that can afford to pay the tuition. These challenges limit opportunities to find individuals that will financially support the school at a level that is needed to provide a better option than the local, public, tax-supported school. Recruiting board members that have experience becomes a greater challenge in rural, economically challenged areas. These economic challenges tend to destroy the agrarian myth, the traditionally romantic and idealistic lifestyle associated with rural areas. This study examined the latest, consecutive three years of financial data on the nonprofit private schools in twenty rural counties of West Tennessee to determine their fiscal position. By using secondary data from IRS 990 submissions, a three year trend can be established. In examining each nonprofit school, their ability to balance the budget, end the year with positive cash flow and the impact of an endowment, using multiple regression and Cross Tabulation the impact of an endowment on the sustainability of these schools was determined.Using a multiple regression model proved to be ineffective due to a limited pool of 12 schools in the area under study. A Cross Tabulation of data was prepared by looking at the minimal level of sustainability of the schools then converting the data into nominal data and comparing with it with the interval data to produce the correlational value in Directional Measures.Results indicated that the Cross Tabulation model was effective in showing the critical elements of sustainable nonprofit private schools in the West Tennessee area. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of an endowment to the sustainability of the schools. This study indicated that Positive Cash Flow and Endowment/Investments were equal and more critical to the sustainability of the school than a Balanced Budget.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest